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Full text of "An essay on the military architecture of the middle ages. Translated from the French of E. Viollet-Le-Duc"

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Prefented to 
The Cornell University, 1869, 

Goldwin Smith, M. A. Oxon., 

Regius Profeffor of Hittory in the 
Univerfity of Oxford. 

Cornell University Library 
UG460 .V79 1860 

An essay on the military architecture of 


3 1924 032 641 619 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



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rFHE work now offered to English readers lias already 
attained an European reputation in its original lan- 
guage. The accomplished Author has thrown entirely- 
new light on an interesting subject, and has brought to 
bear upon it not only the results of his great experience 
as an architect, but also shews a thorough knowledge of 
the principles of engineering, and great research as an 
antiquary. The remains of our ancient castles will no 
longer be considered merely as picturesque ruins, but 
as objects of careful study, worthy of minute examin- 
ation in order to discover not only the age when each 
part was built, but also the special purpose for which 
it was built with a view to the defence of the castle or 
town. That part of the work which relates to the hoard- 
ing, or wooden constructions to assist in the defence 
of the castle, is entirely new, and explains many things 
which were previously quite incomprehensible. The 
Author pays a just tribute to the memory of Eichard 
CoeuT-de-Lion, as not only a brave warrior, but also an 
accomplished engineer, in advance of his age, shewing 
great ability and skill in the construction of the Chateau- 
Gaillard ; and this portion of the work cannot fail to be 


interesting to English readers. It also affords another 
instance of the valuable assistance which a knowledge of 
Medieval Architecture is calculated to render to History. 
A great deal of medieval history is hardly intelligible 
without it, and the successive changes in the modes of 
warfare as developed in this work explain many im- 
portant passages, especially in the wars between France 
and England. We now see some of the causes why the 
English were always successful at one period and the 
French at another. 

The object of the Publishers in producing this trans- 
lation is to continue their series of works on Medieval 
Architecture : they have already illustrated the Churches 
and the Houses of our ancestors, and the present work 
illustrates the Castles, with the modes of attacking and 
defending them. It is intended to follow this up with 
another volume specially devoted to the History of the 
Castles of England, which they at first thought of having 
incorporated with the present work, but found thast it 
was hardly practicable to do so, and that the subject 
required separate treatment. 



The Visigoths in the Fifth Century 

The Barbariaas imitated the Eomans 

"Wooden Eamparts of the Celts 

The Eoman Testudo 

The Eoman Camps 

Wooden Towers on Eoman "Walls 

Eoman "Walls of Towns 

The Visigoth Fortifications 

Towers at Carcassonne 

Tower with Outworks 

Fortifications of Towns 

Eoman Towns . 

Visigoth Towns 

Eoman Fortifications 

The Tower . 

The Eat 
Attacks of the German Tribes 
The Battering-ram used 
The Battering-ram used 

in the Tenth Century 
in the Eleventh Century 

Improvements after the First Crusades 

Detached Forts introduced in the Twelfth Century 

Advantages of Detached Forts . 

Frequency of Sorties 

The Norman Castles 

Activity of Defenders l^ecessary 

The Engines of "War 

The Mine 

Siege of Carcassonne in 1240 

The Battering-ram in the Thirteenth Century 


14, 15 
. 16 
19, 20 
. 21 
. 25 
. 26 
. 27 
. 28 
. 29 
. 30 
. 31 
. 32 
. 37 
. 43 


Siege of Toulouse by Simon de Montfort 
Fortifications of Carcassonne 

Plan of Carcassonne .... 

Bird's-eye View of Carcassonne 
Ifecessity for Projections from the "Walls 
The Hoarding . . . . - 

The Hoard, and the Cat 

The Lines of Approach .... 
Engines for Attack and Defence 
Attack by the Drawbridge from the "Wooden Tower 
"Use of Bastions 
Defensive Arrangements 
Details of Defence 
Means of Defence 
Spirit of Feudalism 
The Feudal Castle 
Paris and the Louvre 
Plan of Paris, Thirteenth Century 
Plan of Paris, Fourteenth Century 
Plan of Coucy . 
Plans of Towns . 
Anglo-Norman Feudalism 
Feudal Castles of France 
EicHAED CcEiTE-BE-LioN a Consummate warrior and an able 

The Chateau-Gaillard 
Keep of the Chateau-GaUlard 
Siege of the Chateau-Gaillard by Philip Augustus, defended by 

Roger de Lacy 
Castle of Montargis 
The Donjon or Keep 
The Donjon or Keep of Etampes 
The Donjon or Keep of Provins 
The Castle and Keep of Coucy 
Enguerrand de Coucy . 

The Feudal Castles 
Improved Modes of Defence 
Arrangement of Loopholes 
Loopholes and Battlements 
Eound Bastions 
The Curtain- wall 


70, 71 





95, 96 















The Pointed Bastion or Horn .... 

. 121 

Poiated Bastions or Beaks .... 

. 122 

Bastions at Aignes-Mortes .... 

. 123 

Plans of Bastions at Carcassonne and Falaise 

124, 125 

The Narbonne Gate at Carcassonne 


Means of Defence ..... 

. 130 

The Drawbridge ..... 


Siege of Anbenton ..... 

. 135 

Timber-hoarding ..... 


Battlements and Machicoulis .... 

. 140 

Hoarding and Machicoulis .... 

. 141 

Castle of Pierrefonds ..... 


The "Walls of Avignon ..... 


Palace of the Pope at Avignon .... 

. 150 

The Castle of Vincennes .... 

. 151 

Plan of Viacennes ..... 

. 152 

Improvement of Defences .... 

. 153 

Introduction of Infantry 

. 154 

The Battle of Crecy ..... 

. 154 

Changes in Warfare ..... 


The Siege of Aiguillon .... 

. 156 

The Siege of Calais ..... 


The Jaquerie or Brigands .... 

161, 162 

Superior Discipline of the English Armies 

• 161 

The Army of Du Guesclin .... 

. 163 

Feudal Traditions long preserved, except in the Good Towns 

164, 165 

Introduction of ArtiUery .... 

. 166 

Early Use of Artillery and Trenches 

167, 168 

The English Expelled from France by Improved Artillery 

. 169 

Further Improvements in Artillery 

170, 171 

Cannons of the Fifteenth Century 

. 172 

An Archer of the Fifteenth Century 

. 173 

The Long-bow and the Cross-bow 

174, 175 

Alterations of Castles to receive Cannon 

176, 177 

The Castle of Bonagml ..... 


Embrasures for Cannon . 

. 181 

Modifications of Towers . 

. 182 

Walls of the Town of Langres 


Adaptations of Old Works 

. 187 

Tower at Perigueux 

188, 189 

Fortress of Schaffhausen 




Fortifications of Schaffhausen . 


Changes in the Art of Defence . 


Portiflcations of Orange under Louis XI. 

. 200 

Fortifications of IS'uys .... 

. 202 

Castles of the Close of the Fifteenth Century- 

. 203 

Modes of Strengthening Walls . 

. 204 

Ee-entering Eamparts .... 

. 205 

Fortifications of Sienna 

. 206 

Effects of Artillery .... 

. 207 

Use of Discharging-arches 

. 208 

Eamparts for Artillery .... 

. 209 

Eamparts of Earth and Timber . 

. 210 

Eamparts of Timber .... 

. 211 

Embrasures formed with Gabions 

. 212 

The Trenches with Gabions 

. 213 

Fortifications of Metz . . . .214, 

216, 257, 258 

Widening the Area .... 

. 215 

Enlargement of Barbicans into Boulevards 

■ 215 

Fortifications of Hull .... 


Fortifications of Lubeck 

. 219 

Fortifications of Milan .... 

220, 221 

Use of the Cavalier .... 

. 222 

The Bridge of Marseilles 

. 223 

Cavalier at Verona .... 

. 224 

Use of Traverses .... 

. 225 

Use of Bastions ..... 

. 226 

Fortifications of Nuremberg 

227, 228 

Fortifications of Augsburg 



233, 234 

The OrUlon . , . 

235, 236 

The Italian Engineers .... 

. 237 

Improved Bastions .... 

. 238 

Bastions attacked .... 

239, 240 

A Bastion Isolated .... 

. 241 

Bird's-eye View of a Bastion . . . . 

. 242 

Use of Eavelins .... 

. 243 

Plans of Eavelins .... 

. 244 

Improvements in Embrasures . . . . 

. 245 

Embrasures at Nuremberg 

246, 251 

Hoarding at JSTuremberg . . . . 


Improved Embrasures .... 

. 248 



Crenelles with Shutters 

. 249 

Embrasure with. Loopholes 

. 250 

Embrasures at Basle 

. 252 

Complicated Defences . 


. 253 

Advice of Machiavelli . 

■ • 

. 254 

Changes caused by the use of Artillery . 

. 255 

Effects of Artillery 

. 256 

Mines and Countermines 

. 259 

Countermines — Galleries 

. 260 

Bastions according to De Ville 


System of Vauban 

. 264 


. 265 


1 Wooden Eamparts of Eoman work, from Trajan's Column ■ 

2 German Eampart of wood and wicker- work, from the Column 

of Antoninus ........ 

3 Wooden Towers on Roman Walls, from Trajan's Column 

4 Plan of Famars, in Belgium ..... 

5 Eoman Method of constructing the "Walls of a Portification 

6 Plan of one of the Towers of Carcass mne 

7 Inside Yiew of the same Tower with its Curtains, from the City 

8 Outside View of the same Tower .... 

9 Bird's-eye Yiew of a Eoman Town 

10 Bird's-eye Yiew of part of a Fortress on a Hill 

1 1 Plan of the Eoman Walls of Carcassonne . . ' . 

12 Section of a Eoman Tower, as described by Csesar 

13 Attack of a Palisade with a Battering-ram, from a MS. of the 

Tenth Century 

14 Ezekiel, with three Battering-rams, from a MS. of the 

Eleventh Century ...... 

15 Part of Carcassonne defended by "Wood- work when a breach 

was made ........ 

16 Plan of Carcassonne as fortified by S. Louis 

17 Plan of the Castle of Carcassonne .... 

18 Bird's-eye Yiew of Carcassonne .... 

19 A Curtain-wall with Battlement and Loopholes; and the 

"Wood-work, shewing one mode of attack and defence 

20 The Lines of Approach 

21 Attack by the Drawbridge from the Cat 

22 Plan of one Bay of the Curtain-wall, and two Bnstions or 

Towers, Carcassonne ...... 

23 "Wooden Door of a Bastion 

24 Plan of Paris in the Thirteenth Century 



















""• PAGE 

25 Plan of Paris in the Pourteentli Century • ■ • • 75 

26 Castle of Coucy 7g 

27 Plan of the Chateau-Gaillard and its Environs • • • 82 

28 Ground-plan of the Chateau-GaUlard 85 

29 Chateau-Gaillard — Plan of Segments 88 

30 Chateau-Gaillard— View of part of the "Wall • • • 89 

31 Keep of the Chdteau-Gaillard ... • • 91 

32 Plan of the Castle of Montargis .... .95 

33 Plan of the Castle of Chauvigny 97 

34 Plan of the Keep of Etampes ... .99 

35 Ground-plan of the Keep of Provins . . . -100 

36 Plan of the Pirst Story of the Keep of Provins • • .101 

37 Plan of Third Story . ... • • 101 

38 Elevation of the Keep of Provins, on the line ES on the Plans 102 

39 Section of the Keep of Provins, on the Line A B on the Plans 103 

40 Plan of the Castle of Coucy 106 

41 Ground-plan of the Keep of Coucy . . • .107 

42 Plan of the First Story of the Keep of Coucy . • .108 

43 Plan of the Second Story of the Keep of Coucy ■ . .109 

44 Plan of the Platform (on the Eoof, the Allure behind the 

Parapet, and of the Battlements) of the Keep of Coucy • 110 

45 Section of the Keep of Coucy, on the line P of the Plans • 111 

46 Elevation, Section, and Plans of a Tower at Carcassonne • 117 

47 A Crenelle with its wooden Hanging Shutter . • -118 

48 Plan of part of a Curtain- wall with a Bastion . . -119 

49 Plan of one Bay of a Curtain-wall with part of two Bastions 120 

50 Plan of a Horn 121 

51 Beaks of Loches and of the Gate of St. John at Provins • 122 

52 Beaks of the Gates of Jouy at Provins, and of VUleneuve- 

le-Eoi 122 

53 Plan of the Town of Aigues-Mortes 123 

64 Plan of an Angle of the Fortifications of Carcassonne . -124 

55 Plan of a Projecting Angle of the Castle of Falaise • • 124 

56 Plan of the Narbonne Gate of the City of Carcassonne • . 126 

57 Plan of the First Floor of the Narbonne Gate . • -128 

58 Elevation of the Narbonne Gate 129 

59 Plan of the Upper Story of the Narbonne Gate . . -131 

60 The Drawbridge . 132 

61 Entrance to the Castle of Montargis 133 

62 The Tapuca, or Shutter, suspended from above • ■ .134 

63 A Shutter balanced on a Pivot 134 



64 Gate of Aubenton, attacked by the Count of Hainault, from 

a MS. of rroissart .... 

65 Plan of the Hoarding .... 

66 Sections of part of a Curtain-wall, well defended 

67 Battlements and Machicoulis of a Tower • 

68 Newcastle-on-Tyne, from a MS. of Froissart 

69 Part of the Castle of Pierrefonds 

70 Part of the Castle of Pierrefonds, restored • 

71 Plan of a Square Tower . . . ■ 

72 Part of the "Walls of Avignon, inside . 

73 Ground-plan of one of the Towers of Avignon 

74 Plan of the Eirst Story . . • ■ 

75 Plan of Tipper Story, with the Allure and Battlement 

76 Perspective View of the Interior of one of the Towers of 


77 Part of the Palace of the Pope at Avignon . 

78 Plan of the Castle of Vincennos . . . • 

79 A Double Cannon with the "Wooden Shield or Mantelet 

80 A Double Cannon with the Chamber for Powder 

81 A Cannon mounted on a Carriage with a Quadrant 

82 An Archer with his Sheaf of Arrows ... 

83 An Archer firing downwards 

84 A Crossbow-man with his Shield on his back, taking aim 

From a MS. of Froissart 

85 A Crossbow-man fitting the handle. From a MS. 

86 The Cranequin, or Handle of the Crossbow 

87 Plan of the Castle of Bonaguil 

88 Bird's-eye view of the Castle of Bonaguil . 

89 Embrasure of the Castle of Bonaguil 

90 Plan of the "Walls of the Town of Langres 

91 Ground-plan of the Great Tower, Langres . 

92 Plan of the Eirst Story 

93 Section of the Tower, Langres ..... 

94 Plan of one of the Bastions of Langres, Fifteenth Century 

95 Section of the Bastion on the line C D of the Plan, fig. 94 

96 Section of the Bastion on the line A B of the Plan, fig. 94 

97 Plan of a Tower at Perigueux 

98 View of the Tower at Perigueux .... 

99 Fortifications of the Bridge over the Ehiae at Schaffhausen 

100 Planof the Citadel^of Schaffhausen .... 

101 Perspective View of one of the Bastions, Schaffhausen 






102 Han of tlie first Story of the Bastion, Schaffhausen . .194 

103 Plan and Section of one of the Embrasures of the Great Hall 195 

104 Plan of the Platform of the Tower, Schaffhausen . . 196 

105 Bird's-eye View of Schaffhausen 198 

106 View of a Battery, Schaffhausen 200 

107 View of part of the Fortifications of the Town of Orange . 201 

108 Section of a Parapet at Orange, called a Braie . . . 202 

109 View of part of the Fortifications of Sienna . . . 206 

110 View of the Parapet of the Curtain- wall, inside . . . 208 

111 View of a Parapet shewing the Construction . . . 209 

112 Fascines 210 

113 Rampart formed of the Trunks of Trees . . . .211 

114 Eampart formed of Branches of Trees . . . .211 

115 Embrasures formed with Gabions 212 

116 View of the Trenches, with Gabions, &c 213 

117 The Mazelle Gate and Barbican at Metz . . . .21-1 

118 View of Barbican, or Boulevard, Metz . . . .216 

119 Part ofthe Fortifications of the Town of Hull . . .218 

120 Fortifications of Lubeck 219 

121 Bird's-eye View of the Castle of Milan . . . .220 

122 View of the Bridge of Marseilles 223 

123 Cavalier on a Bastion at Verona 224 

124 Traverses with Gabions 225 

125 View of one of the Bastions of Augsburg .... 230 

126 Plan of Bastions at Augsburg 231 

127 Ground -plan of the Fortifications of Augsburg . . .232 

128 View of the Fortifications of Frankfort-on-the-Maine . . 233 

129 Plan of one of the Bastions 234 

130 View of an Orillon, or Oblong Bastion .... 235 

131 Plan of Orillons 236 

132 Plan of one of the Bastions at Troyes .... 238 

133 Plans of Bastions . 238 

134 View of Bastions attacked • 239 

135 Bastion isolated, with Inner Eampart ■ • • -241 

136 Bird's-eye View of a Bastion 242 

137 Plans of a Eavelin and two TenaiUes .... 244 

138 Plan of an Embrasure at Nuremberg .... 246 

139 Section of the same .••••••• 246 

140 View of the Parapet at Nuremberg, with the Hoarding • 247 

141 Embrasures with Eedents • 248 

142 Plan and View of an Embrasure 248 


no. i'^™ 

143 Plan of another Embrasure 248 

144 Covered "Way, with. Crenelles, Loopholes, and Shutters ■ 249 

145 Elevation, Section, and Plan of an Embrasure, with Loop- 

holes for Musketry 250 

146 Embrasure of the Laufer Gate at Nuremberg • ■ .251 

147 Bird's-eye View of part of the City of Metz • ■ -258 

148 Plan of Vaulted Gallery 260 

149, 150 Plan and Section of a Bastion according to De VUle • 262 
151 Section of Ditch with false Braie, according to De Ville ■ 264 






rpO "write a generar history of tlie art of fortification, 
-^ from the days of antiquity to the present time, is 
one of the fine subjects lying open to the researches of 
archaeologists, and one which we may reasonably hope to 
see undertaken ; but we must admit that it is a subject, 
to treat which fully requires much and varied informa- 
tion, — ^since to the knowledge of the historian should be 
superadded in him who would undertake it the practice 
of the arts of architecture and military engineering. It 
is difficult to form an exact estimate of a forgotten art, 
when we are unacquainted with that art as it is practised 
in the present day; and in order that a work, of the 
nature of that which we wish to see undertaken, should 
be complete, it ought to be executed by one who is at 
once versed in the modern art of the defence of strong 
places, an architect, and an antiquary. The present 
writer is not a military engineer and scarcely an anti- 
quary: it would, therefore, be in the highest degree 
presumptuous were he to offer this summary in any 
other light than as an essay, — a study of one phase of 
the art of fortification, comprised between the establish- 
ment of the feudal power, and the definite adoption of 


the modern system of fortification as devised to counter- 
act the use of artillery. This essay, perhaps, by lifting 
the veil -which still envelopes one branch of the art of 
mediaeval architecture, may induce some of our young 
officers of engineers to devote themselves to a study, 
which could not fail to possess great interest, and which 
might probably have a useful and a practical result; 
for there is always something to be gained by informing 
ourselves of the efforts made by those who have pre- 
ceded us in the same path, and by following up the 
progress of human labour, from its first rude essays, to 
the most remarkable developments of the intelligence 
and the genius of man. To see how others have con- 
quered before us the difficulties by which they were sur- 
rounded, is one means of learning how to conquer those 
which every day present themselves ; and in the art of 
fortification, where everything is a problem to be solved, 
where all is calculation and foresight, where we have 
not only to do battle with the elements and with the 
hand of time, as in the other branches of architecture, 
but to protect ourselves against the intelligent and pre- 
viously-planned destructive agency of man, it is well, 
we think, to know how in past times some have applied 
all the abilities of their minds and all the material force 
at their command to the work of destruction, others 
to that of preservation. 

At the time when the barbarians invaded Gaul, many 
of the towns still preserved their fortifications of Gallo- 
Eoman origin ; those which did not, made haste to erect 
some, out of the ruins of civil buildings. Those walled 
enclosures, successively forced and repaired, were long 
the only defensive works of these cities ; and it is pro- 
bable that they were not built upon any regular or 
systematic plan, but constructed very variously, accord- 


ing to the nature of the localities and of the materials, 
Or after certain local traditions, the nature of which we 
cannot at the present day fully understand, as there re- 
main to us only the ruins of these walls, consisting of 
foundations which haye been modified by successive 

The Visigoths took possession, ia the fifth century, 
of a great portion of Gaul ; their domination extended, 
under Wallia, from the Narbonaise to the Loire. During 
eighty-nine years Toulouse remained the capital of this 
kingdom, and, in the course of that period, the greater 
number of the towns of Septimania were fortified with 
great care, and had to stand several sieges, Narbonne, 
Beziers, Agde, Carcassonne, and Toulouse were sur- 
rounded by formidable ramparts, constructed according 
to the Eoman traditions of the Lower Empire, if we may 
judge at least by the important portions of the early 
walls which stUl surround the city of Carcassonne. The 
Visigoths, allies of Eome, did no more than perpetuate 
the acts of the Empire, and that with some degree of 
success. As for the Franks, who had preserved their 
Germanic customs, their military establishments would 
naturally be so many fortified camps, surrounded by 
palisades, ditches, and some embankments of earth. 
Timber plays an important part in the fortifications of 
the first centuries of the middle ages. And although 
the Germanic races who occupied Gaul left the task of 
erectiug churches and monasteries, palaces and civil 
structures, to the Gallo-Eomans, they were bound to 
preserve their military habits in the presence of the 
conquered nation. The Eomans themselves, when they 
made war upon territories covered with forest, like Ger- 
many and Gaul, frequently erected ramparts of wood ; 
advanced works, as it were, beyond the limits of their 



camps; as we may see by the bas-relief on Trajan's 
Column (1). In the time of Caesar, the Celts, when 
they found themselves unable to continue their wars, 
placed their women, their children, and all the most 
precious of their possessions behind fortifications made 
of wood, earth, or stone, beyond the reach of their 
enemy's attack. 

" They employ," says Caesar in Hs Commentaries, " pieces of 
wood perfectly straight, lay them on the ground in a direction 
parallel to each other at a distance apart of two feet, fix them 
transversely by means of trunks of trees, and fill up the voids 

Fig. 1. Wooden Eamparts of Koman work, frora Tr^an'a Goluran. 

with earth. On this first foundation they lay a layer of broken 
rock in large fragments, and when these are well cemented, 
they put down a fresh course of timber arranged like the first ; 
taking care that the timbers of these two courses do not come 
into contact, but rest upon the layer of rock which intervenes. 
The work is thus proceeded with, until it attains the height 
required. This kind of construction, by reason of the variety 
of its materials, composed of stone and wood, and forming a 
regular wall-surface, is good for the service and defence of 
fortified places ; for the stones which are used thereia hinder 
the wood from burning, and the trees being about forty feet in 


length, and bound together in the thickness of the wall, can be 
broken or torn asunder only with the greatest difficulty*." 

Csesar renders justice to the industrious manner in 
which, the Gallic tribes of his time established their de- 
fences and succeeded in resisting the efforts of their 
assailants, when he laid siege to the town of Avaricum, 

" The Gauls," he says, " opposed all kinds of stratagems to 
the wonderful constancy of Our soldiers: for the industry of 
that nation imitates perfectly whatever they have once seen 
done. They turned aside the hooks (falces murales) with nooses, 
and when they had caught hold of them firmly drew them in 
by means of engines, and undermined the mound the more 
skilfully for the reason that there are in their territories ex- 
tensive iron-mines, and consequently every kind of mining 
operation is known and practised by them. They had furnished, 
moreover, the whole wall on every side with turrets, and had 
covered these with hides. Besides, in their frequent sallies by 
day and night they attempted either to set fire to the mound, 
or attack our soldiers when engaged in the works ; and, more- 
over, by means of beams spliced together, in proportion as our 
towers were raised, together with our ramparts, did they raise 
theirs to the same level ''." 

The Germans constructed, also, ramparts of wood 
crowned with parapets of osier. The Column of Anto- 
nine at Home furnishes a curious example of this kind 
of rustic redoubt (2). These works were, however, very 
probably of hasty construction. We see here the fort at- 
tacked by Eoman soldiers. The infantry, in order to get 
close to the rampart, cover themselves with their shields 
and form what was called the tortoise (testudo); by resting 
the tops of their shields against the rampart, they were 
able to sap its base or set fire to it, safe, comparatively, 

• Csesar, De Bella Gall., lib. vii. cap. 22. '' Ibid. 


from the projectiles of tlie enemy ". The besieged are in 
the act of flinging stones^ wheels, swords, torches, and 
fire-pots upon the tortoise ; while Eoman soldiers, hold- 
ing burning brands, appear to await the moment when 
the tortoise shall have completely reached the rampart, 
in order to pass under the shields and fire the fort. In 
their entrenched camps, the Eomans, besides some ad- 
vanced works constructed of timber, frequently erected 


Fig. 2 G-erman Hampartof ■woodand-wick:er--work, from the Column of Antoninus. 

along their ramparts, at regular intervals, wooden scaf- 
foldings, which served either for placing in position the 
machines intended to hurl their projectiles, or as watch- 
towers from which to reconnoitre the approaches of the 
enemy. The bas-reliefs of Trajan's Column afford nume- 
rous examples of this kind of structure (3). These 

"= These shields, formed like a portion of a cylinder, were reserved for this kind 
of attack. 


Eoman camps were of two sorts : there were the summer 
camps, the castra cesUva, of a purely temporary nature, 
which were raised to protect the army when halting in 
the course of the campaign, and which consisted merely 
of a shallow ditch and a row of palisades planted along 
the summit of a slight embankment; and the winter, 
or stationary camps, castra hiberna^ castra stativa, which 
were defended by a wide and deep ditch, and by a ram- 
part of sodded earth or of stone flanked by towers ; the 
whole crowned with crenellated parapets or with stakes, 
connected together by means of transverse pieces of 
timber or wattles. The use of round and square towers 
by the Eomans in their fixed entrenchments was gene- 
ral, for, as Vegetius says, — 

"The ancients found that the enclosure of a fortified place 
ought not to be in one continuous line, for the reason that the 
battering-rams would thus be able too easily to effect a breach ; 
whereas by the use of towers placed sufficiently close to one 
another in the rampart, their walls presented parts projecting 
and re-entering. If the enemy wishes to plant his ladders 
against, or to bring his machines close to, a wall thus con- 
structed, he can be seen in front, in flank, and almost iu the 
rear ; he is almost hemmed in by the fire from the batteries of 
the place he is attacking." 

From the very earliest antiquity the usefulness of 
towers had been recognised for the purpose of taking 
the besiegers in flank when they attacked the cui'tains. 

The fixed camps of the Eomans were generally quad- 
rangular, with four gates pierced, one in the centre of each 
of the fronts ; the principal gate was called the prcetorian, 
because it opened in front of the prcetorium, or residence 
of the general-in-chief ; the opposite one was called the 
decumana ; the two lateral gates were known as princi- 
palis dextra and principalis sinistra. Outworks, called 



antemuralia, procastria, defended those gates *. Tlie 
officers and soldiers "were lodged in huts built of clay, 

!Pi|. 3. Wooden To-wers on Roman Walls-, from Trajan's Column- 

brick, or wood, and tbatcbed or tiled over. The to"wers 
■were provided with machines for hurling darts or stones. 
The local position very often modified this quadrangular 
arrangement, for, as Yitru"vius justly observes, in refer- 
ence to machines of war (cap. xxii.), — " As for the means 
which a besieged force may employ in their defence, this 
cannot be set in writing." 

The military station of Famars, in Belgium {Fanum 
Martis), given in the "History of Architecture iuBelgium," 
and the plan of which we here produce (4), shews an 
enclosure, of which the arrangement is not in accordance 
with the ordinary plans of Eoman camps : it is true, this 
fortification cannot be referred to an earlier date than the 
third century '. As for the mode adopted by the Romans 

"^ Godeac. Steweohii, Connect, ad Sexti Jwl. Frontini lib. Stragem. Lngd. 
Batav., 1592, 12mo., p. 465. 

" See Bist, de Varcliiteot. en Selgigue, par A. G. B. Schayes, t. i. p. 203, 


in the construction of their fortifications for cities, it 
consisted in two strong walls of 
masonry, separated by an interval 
of twenty feet: the space between 
was filled with the earth from the 
ditches, and loose rock well rammed, 
forming at top a parapet walk, slight- 
ly inclined towards the town to allow 
the water to pass off: the outer of 
these two walls, which was raised 
above the parapet-walk, was massive 
and crenellated; the inner one was 
very slightly elevated above the 
ground level of the place inside, so 
as to render the ramparts easy of 
access, by means of flights of steps 

and inclined ways (5)'. M^. 4. PJanofFamarsanBelimm. 

The Chateau Narhonnais at Toulouse, which plays so 


Fi^.~ 5. Eoman Method of constructing the Walls of a FoxtificatioD, 

important, a part ia the history of that city fi:om the 
time of the domination of the Visigoths to the fourteenth 

' Vegetius, lib. iv. cap. 3. tii, QuemadMtodMm muris terra jmgattir egesta. 


century, appears to have been constructed according to 
the classical model : it was composed of — 

"Two massive towers, one at the south, the other at the 
north, huilt of baked clay and flint, with lime ; the whole 
enclosed by great stones without mortar, but cramped together 
by means of iron plates run with lead. The castle stood above 
the ground level more than thirty fathom {brasses) s, having 
towards the south two successive gates and two vaults of 
masonry reaching to the summit of the building; there were 
also two other successive gates on the north side and on the 
Place du Salin. By the latter of these gates you formerly 
entered the city, the ground of which has been since raised 
more than twelve feet ... A square tower was to be seen 
between these two towers, or defensive platforms ; for they 
were embanked and filled with earth, according to Guillaume 
de Puilaurnes, since it appears that Simon de Montfort had all 
the earth removed which then filled them to their roofs ''." 

The "Visigoth fortification of the city of Carcassonne, 
which is still preserved, offers an analogous arrange- 
ment, recalling those described by Yegetius. The level 
of the town is much more elevated than the ground out- 
side, and almost as high as the parapet walks. The 
curtain walls, of great thickness, are composed of two 
faces of small cubical masonry alternating with courses 
of brick ; the middle portion being filled, not with earth, 
but with rubble run with lime. The towers were raised 
above these curtains, and their communication with the 
latter might be cut off, so as to make of each tower 
a small independent fort; externally, these towers are 
cylindrical, and, on the side of the town, square : they 
rest also, towards the country, upon a cubical base or 
foundation. We subjoin (6) the plan of one of these 
towers with the curtains adjoining. 

s The Irasse, or Fr. fathom, measured Bpieds du Roy. 

■' Annates de la ville de Toulouse. Paris, 1771, t. i. p, 436. 




Fig. 6. Plan of one of the Towers of Carcassonne. 
A. Gi'oand-plan. B. Plan of first story. C. & D. Pits beneath drawbridges. 

Fig. 7. InsideView of the same Tower with its Curtains, from the City. 

A is the plan on the ground level ; B, the plan of the 
first story at the level of the parapet. We see, at C and D, 
the two excavations formed in front of the gates of the 
tower to intercept, when the drawbridges were raised, 
all communication between the town, or the parapet walk 
and the several stories of the tower. From the first 
story, access was had to the upper crenellated, or battle- 
mented,. portion of the tower by a ladder of wood placed 



interiorly against the side of the flat wall. The external 
ground-level was much lower than that of the tower, and 
also beneath the ground-level of the town, from which it 

Fip. 8. Uaiaide View of tbe same Tower. 

was reached by a descending flight of from ten to fifteen 
steps. Fig. 7 shews the tower and its two curtains on 


the side of the town ; the bridges of communication are 
supposed to have been removed. The battlemented por- 
tion at the top is covered with a roof, and open on the 
side of the town, in order to permit the defenders of the 
tower to see what was going on therein, and also to allow 
of their hoisting up stones and other projectiles by means 
of a rope and pulley'. Eig. 8 shews the same tower 
on the side towards the country; we have added a 
postern'', the sill of which is sufficiently raised above 
the ground to necessitate the use of a scaling or step 
ladder, to obtain ingress. The postern is defended, as 
was customary, by a palisade or barrier, each gate or 
postern being provided with a work of this kind. 

In conformity with the traditions of the Eoman fixed 
camp, the fortifications of the towns of the middle ages 
enclosed a castle, or at the least a fort, which commanded 
the walls ; the castle itself contained a detached defence 
stronger than all the others, which took the name of 
donjon. Frequently the towns of the middle ages were 
protected by several fortified walls, one within the other ; 
or there was the city proper, which, placed upon the 
point of greatest elevation, was surrounded by strong 
walls, and around it faubourgs (or suburbs) defended by 
towers and curtains, or by simple works of earth or tim- 
ber, with ditches. When the Eomans founded a city, 
they took care, as far as was possible, to choose some 
site sloping towards a river. When the inclination of 
the ground was terminated by another embankment, 
sloping in the opposite direction, at some distance from 

' These towers were partially damaged at the beginning of the twelfth century, 
after the taking of Carcassonne by the army of Saint Louis. At several points, 
however, may be seen traces of these interruptions between the curtains and the 
gates of the tower. 

■' This postern exists at the side of one of the towers and is protected by 
its flank. 



the course of the river, the site fulfilled all the con- 
ditions to be desired. We give (9), in order to make 
ourselves better understood, a bird's-eye view of the site 
of a Eoman city, according to the above data. A was 

Fi^. 9. Bird's-eye Vie-w of a Koman Town. 

A. The town. B. The escarpment. CC. The walls. 

D. The castle. EE. The watch-towers. 

the city, with its walls bounded on one side by the river ; 
frequently a bridge, defended by advanced works, com- 
municated with the opposite bank. At B was the escarp- 
ment, which rendered access to the town difficult at the 
point where an enemy's army would naturally attempt 
to invest it ; D, the castle commanding the whole system 
of defence, and serving as a refuge for the garrison in 
case the city should fall into the enemy's hands. The 
weakest points were thus the two fronts, CC, and there- 
fore it was here that the walls were high, well flanked 
by towers, and protected by wide and deep ditches, 


sometimes also by palisades, more especially in advance 
of the gates. Neither was the position of the besiegers, 
when facing either of these two fronts, very good ; for a 
sally which would take them in flank might, were the 
garrison at all brave and numerous, drive them back 
into the river. With a view to reconnoitring the opera- 
tions of the besieging army, there were erected, at the 
angles EE, towers of great elevation, which allowed those 
in the town to watch the banks of the river both up and 
down to a great distance, and also the two fronts CC. 
It is according to this arrangement that the cities of 
Autun, Cahors, Auxerre, Poitiers, Bordeaux, Langres, 
&c., were fortified in the Roman times. When a bridge 
connected, in front of the walls, the opposite sides of the 
river, then the bridge was defended by a tete-de-pont, G, 
on the side over against the town. These tetes-de-pont 
assumed more or less importance in different places ; 
they took in whole suburbs, or were merely fortresses, 
or simple barbicans. Stockades, with towers face to face, 
built on the two banks of the river above the bridge, 
permitted the townspeople to bar the passage and inter- 
cept the navigation by throwing from one tower to the 
other either chains, or pieces of wood attached end to 
end by iron rings. If, as was the case with Eome her- 
self, in the neighbourhood of a river were situated a 
series of hills, care was taken not to surround these hiUs, 
but to carry the walls of defence across their summits ; 
fortifying strongly at the same time the intervals, which, 
being commanded by the front, on both sides, could not 
be attacked without great risk. For this purpose, also, 
between the hills the line of the walls was nearly always 
inflected and concave in such a way as to flank the 
valleys, as is shewn in the bird's-eye view (10) ^ But 

• See the plan of Eome. 


if the city stood in the plain (in which, case it was gene- 
rally of secondary importance), advantage was taken of 

IFig. 10. Bird's-eye View of part of a Fortress on a Hill. 

every rise in the ground ; the sinuosities being carefully 
followed, so as to prevent the besiegers from establishing 
themselves on a level with the foot of the walls, as may 
be seen at Langres and Carcassonne, — we append (11) 
the Yisigoth enceinte of the latter town — we might 
almost say the Eoman one, inasmuch as some of the 
towers are built on Roman foundations. In the cities of 
antiquity, as well as in the greater number of those 
erected in the middle ages, and in those of our own 
day, the castle {chateau^ castellum ; capdhol^ capital in 
langue d^oc) was built, not only on the point of greatest 
elevation, but also contiguous on one of its sides to the 
city wall, in order to secure to the garrison the means of 
receiving succour from without if the city were taken. 
The entrances into the castle were protected by out- 
works, which extended a considerable distance into the 
country, so as to leave between the first barriers and the 
walls of the castle an open space, or place d'armes, which 
would allow of the encampment of a body of troops 
beyond the fixed lines of fortification, to sustain the 
shock of the first attacks. These advanced intrenchments 


were generally thrown up in a semicircular line and 

Fig. 11. Plan of tlie Roman Walls of Carcassonne. 

composed of ditches and palisades ; and the gates were 
placed laterally, so as to oblige the enemy who endea- 
voured to force them to present himself in flank before 
the walls of the place. 

As from the fourth to the tenth century the defensive 
system of Eoman fortification had undergone but little 
modification, the means of attack had necessarily lost 
much of their power ; the mechanical arts played an im- 
portant part in the sieges of fortified places, and practical 
mechanics were not likely to be developed, or indeed to 
maintain the level to which the Eomans had raised them, 
under the domination of barbarian conquerors. 



The Eomans were very skilful in the art of attacking 
strong places, and they displayed under those circum- 
stances a vastness of resources of which we can hardly 
form an adequate idea. Their military organisation was, 
moreover, in the highest degree favourable to the war of 
sieges : all their troops could be converted into pioneers, 
labourers, miners, carpenters, masons, &c., and an army 
en masse laboured at the approaches, the earth-works, 
the walls of contravaUation, at the same time that they 
attacked the enemy and defended themselves. Herein 
lies the explanation of the fact that Roman armies, com- 
paratively not numerous, brought to a successful issue 
sieges in the course of which they had been obliged to 
construct gigantic works. When the Roman lieutenant, 
C. Trebonius, was left by Csesar at the siege of Marseilles, 
the Romans had to erect considerable works in order to 
reduce the city, which was strong and well provided 
with means of defence. One of their works of approach 
is of great importance : we give here the passage of 
Caesar's Memoirs which describes it, endeavouring in our 
translation to render it as intelligible as possible : — 

"The legionaries, wto directed the right of the work, con- 
sidered that a tower of brick, erected at the base of the wall 
(of the town), might be of considerable assistance to them 
against the frequent sallies of the enemy, if they succeeded in 
making it into a fort or bastille. That which they had first 
made was small and low ; it served them, however, as a place 
of retreat. In it they defended themselves against superior 
forces, or they issued from it to repulse and pursue the enemy. 
This work was thirty feet long on each of its sides, and the 
thickness of the walls was five feet ; it was soon discovered (for 
experience is a great master) that a great advantage might, by 
means of some additions to the original plan, be taken of this 
structure, if it were given the elevation of a tower. 

"When this fort had been carried up to the height of one 


story, they (the Romans) laid down a floor composed of joists, 
the ends of which were coyered by the external face of the 
masonry, in order that the fire thrown hy the enemy could not 
fasten upon any projecting portion of the wood-work. Above 
this floor they raised the brick walls as much as they were 
allowed by the parapets and mantelets by which they were 
screened ; then, at a short distance from the coping of the walls, 
they laid two diagonal beams to carry the framework intended 
to form the roof of the tower. Upon these two beams they set 
transverse joists on a radiating plan, the extremities whereof 
were allowed to overhang somewhat the external face of the 
tower wall, in order to suspend from them, outside, guards 
which would shield the workmen engaged on the construction 
of the wall. They covered this framework with bricks and 
clay to render it fire-proof, and stretched a rude kind of tem- 
porary covering over it, lest the roof should be beaten in by the 
projectiles thrown by the engines, or the bricks broken by the 
stones from the catapults. They then made three mats with 
cables such as are used for holding the anchors of vessels, of 
the length of each of the sides of the tower and the height of 
four feet, which they fastened to the external extremities of the 
beams (of the roof) along the walls, on the three sides facing 
the enemy. The soldiers had often had proof, upon other 
occasions, that this kind of guard was the only one which 
formed an impenetrable barrier against the arrows and pro- 
jectiles hurled from the engines. A portion of the tower being 
complete and placed beyond the reach of insult, they transferred 
the mantelets they had used to other parts of the attacking 
works. Then supporting themselves upon the first floor, they 
began to hoist up the whole roof, of a piece, and raised it to a 
height sufficient to allow the cable-screens still to cover the 
labourers. Hidden behind these guards, they went on building 
the walls, which were of brick, then raised the roof a little 
more, and thus secured for themselves the necessary space for 
raising their structure by degrees. When they had reached 
the height of another story, they laid another floor of joists, 
the bearings of which were always concealed by the external 
masonry ; and from thence they continued to raise the roof with 
its hanging cable-work. Thus it was that, without running any 

C 2 



risk, without exposing themselves to be wounded, they succes- 
sively raised the work six stories. Loop-holes were left, in 
proper positions, to receive machines of war. 

Fig. 12, Section oi'a !Rt3man Tower, as described ty Ca 

" When they had made sure that from this tower they could 

defend the works which adjoined it, they began to erect a rat 

[musculus)'^, sixty feet long, with beams two feet square, which 

■n Isidorus, libro tluodevigesimo Etymolaglarum, capite de Ariete : Mmcuhs, 


from the groimd-floor of their tower would lead them to that of 
the enemy and to the walls. To this end they first laid down 
on the ground two beams of equal length, at a distance apart of 
some four feet; they then placed in mortices, made in those 
beams, upright posts five feet in height. They connected these 
iposts by rafters joined in the form of a pediment of low pitch, 
thereon to place the purlins intended to support the roofing of 
the rat. Over these they placed purlins of two feet square, con- 
nected by means of pins and bands of iron. Upon these purlins 
were nailed laths of four fingers square, to support the bricks 
(or tiles) which formed the roof. The timber frame-work being 
thus constructed, and the lower beams carried on traverses, the 
whole was lined externally with bricks and moist clay, to pro- 
tect it against the fire which would be launched from the walls. 
To these bricks were attached hides, in order to hinder the water 
poured into channels by the besieged from wetting and detaching 
the clay ; and in order that the hides might not be injured by 
fire or stones, they were covered with mattresses of wool. The 
whole of this work was constructed at the base of the tower, 
under cover of mantelets ; and all at once, when the Marseillais 
least expected it, by means of rollers employed in ships, the rat 
was moved forward against the tower of the city, ia such a 
manner as to touch its base. 

"Then the besieged, afirighted by this rapid manoeuvre, 
push forward by means of levers the hugest stones they can 
find, and hurl them from the top of the wall upon the rat. But 
the carpentry is strong enough to resist them, and everything 
that falls upon the roof is carried off by its sloping sides. 
Seeing this, the besieged change their plan, and setting fire to 
barrels filled with pitch and tar, precipitate them from the top 
of the parapets. These barrels roll down, and fall to the 
ground on each side of the rat, whence they are removed with 
poles and pitch-forks. In the meanwhile, however, our soldiers, 
under cover of the rat, loosen the stones of the foundations of 
the enemy's tower. The rat is likewise defended by arrows 
shot from the upper works of our brick tower : the besieged 

inqnit, cunieulo similis sit, quo murus perfoditw : ex quo et appellatuT, quasi 
ma/mscuVus. (Godeso. Stewec, comm. ad lib. iv. Veget., 1492.) 


are driven from the parapets of their towers and curtains ; no 
time is left them to shew themselves thereat, or for defence. 
Already a great quantity of the stones of the basement are 
removed, when all at once a portion of the tower falls down "." 

In order to render this passage intelligible, we give 
(fig. 12) a perspective section of the tower (or bastille) 
here described by Csesar, supposed to be taken at the 
moment when the Roman soldiers are engaged in raising 
it, tmder shelter of the moveable roof. This latter is 
lifted at the four angles by means of large wooden screws, 
the threads of which are made to work successively in 
large nuts in two pieces and supported by the first 
lateral beams of each story and at the angles of the 
tower. In this way, those screws are endless, for when 
they leave the nuts of one of the lower stories, they 
have already entered the nut of the last floor laid : holes 
pierced in the body of these screws allow six men, at 
least, to turn them by means of bars, as in a capstan. 
According as the roof is raised, masons prop it at several 
points and adjust it to a true level. From the extremities 
of the beams of the roof are suspended the cable mats to 
protect the workmen. As to the rat, or gallery intended 
to enable the pioneers to sap the base of the walls of the 
besieged under cover, its description is sufficiently clear 
and detailed in the text not to need a commentary. 

If the sieges undertaken by the Eomans denote 
amongst this people great experience and habits of 
method carefully followed out, the military art in a high 
state of development, the use of means which were then 
irresistible, a perfect order in all operations, the same 
cannot be said of the barbarians who invaded the West ; 
and if the German tribes of the East and North were 

_ . » Csesar, Be Bella Civ., lib. ii. cap. 8 — 11. 


able to penetrate easily into Gaul, the reason is rather to 
be looked for in the weakness of the defensive fortifi- 
cations there than in any skilfulness of their modes of 
attack, for the vestiges of Roman warfare were hardly 
known to the barbarians. The few documents which 
remain to us having reference to the sieges undertaken 
by the tribes who invaded Gaul, exhibit a notable want 
of experience on the part of the assailants. 

The attack calls for greater order, more regularity, 
than the defence. The German tribes may have had some 
idea of defensive fortification, but it was difficult for 
them to keep irregular and ill-discipHned armies together 
before a town which held out for any length of time ; 
whenever a siege was protracted, the assailant was almost 
certain to see his troops breaking up, to go and piUage 
the country. The military organization of the German 
nations, moreover, did not favour a war of sieges. As 
each chief preserved a kind of independence, it was not 
possible to compel an army composed of such various 
elements to execute the manual labour to which the 
Roman armies were habituated. The German soldier 
would have disdained to take in hand the spade and the 
shovel to make a trench or to throw up an embankment ; 
and it is a matter of certainty that, if the GaUo-Roman 
cities had been well provided with materials of war, and 
well defended, the efforts of the barbarians would not 
have availed against their walls, siuce, in view of the 
offensive means at the disposal of their troops, the tra- 
ditions of the Roman system of defence were superior to 
the attack. But, after the first invasions, the GaUo- 
Eomans perceived the necessity of defending themselves, 
and of fortifying their towns, dismantled in the course of 
a long peace; on the other hand, the barbarian troops 
had acquired a greater amount of experience, and were 


not long before they put into practice, with, less order 
indeed, but with a more furious energy and a greater 
sacrifice of life, the greater number of the means of 
attack which had been practised by the Eomans. Once 
masters of the soil, the new conquerors put forth their 
warlike genius in improving the defence and attack of 
cities ; constantly engaged in internecine war, occasions 
were never wanting of applying the remains of the 
Eoman military art; and the ambition of the chiefs of 
the Franks, down to the time of Charlemagne, was ever 
to conquer the ancient predominance of Eome, to lean 
for support upon the civilization in the midst of which 
they were thrown, and to resuscitate it for their own 

All the sieges undertaken during the Merovingian 
and Carlovingian periods are rude imitations of the 
sieges made by the Romans. When a place was about 
to be invested, two lines of ramparts of either wood or 
stone, and protected by ditches, were first of all esta- 
blished ; one on the side of the city, in order to afford a 
protection against the sorties of the besieged and to de- 
prive them of all means of communication with the 
outside, — this is the line of contravallation ; the other 
on the side of the champaign, or open country, in order to 
provide against succour reaching the place from without, 
which is the line of circumvallation. In imitation of 
the Roman armies, the towers, which formed part of the 
ramparts attacked, were opposed by other towers of 
wood, moveable and of a greater height than the former, 
which commanded the ramparts of the besieged, and 
which, by means of fiying bridges, allowed of numerous 
assailants beiag thrown upon the walls. The moveable 
towers had this advantage, namely, that they could be 
placed opposite the weak points of the defence, against 


curtains wHcli had but narrow parapet-ways (chemins 
de ronde), and whicli, consequently, were able to oppose 
no more than a single line of soldiers to a deep column of 
attack ; the latter being precipitated, moreover, from a 
higher point upon the walls. The art of the miner and 
all the engines constructed for battering walls were 
greatly improved: and thenceforward the attack over- 
powered the defence. Of the machines of war of the 
Romans, the armies of the first centuries of the Middle 
Ages had preserved the battering-ram (mouton in langue- 
d^oil^ bosson in langue-d'' oc). This fact has been some- 
times doubted ; but we have proofs of the use, during 
the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, fourteenth, fifteenth, and 
even sixteenth centuries, of this engine for battering 
walls. We append copies of vignettes taken from manu- 

I'i|. 13. Attack of a PaUsade -witli a Battering-ram, from a MS. of the 
Tenth Century. 

scripts in the Imperial Library of Paris, which must 
dispel all doubt as to the use of the battering-ram. The 


first of these (fig. 13) represents an attack on palisades, 
or lists, surrounding a fortification of stone ". The batter- 
ing-ram can be plainly distinguished carried upon two 
wheels and impelled by three men who cover themselves 
with their shields ; a fourth assailant holds a cross-bow. 

Fig. 14. Ezekiel, -with three Battexing-rams, from a MS. of the Eleventh Century. 

The second (fig. 14) represents one of the visions of 
Ezekiel ^ ; three batteriug-rams, on wheels, surround the 
prophet 1. In the siege of the castle of Beaucaire by the 

" Haimonig, Comment, in Ezech., Bibl. Imp., manusc. of the tenth century, 
F. de Saint-Qermain, Latin, 303. 

p Bible, No. 6. vol. iii. Bibl. Imp., ancient F. Lat. MS. of ninth or tenth century. 

1 Ezekiel iv. 2, 3. Ezekiel is shewn as holding the plate of iron, and the 
battering-rams surround him. 


inhabitants of that town, the hosson is employed (see 
farther on, where the use of this engine is alluded to). 
And finally, in the Chronicles of Froissart, and, later still, 
at the siege of Pavia under Francis I., mention is made 
of the battering-ram. But after the first crusades, the 
engineers of the Western countries who had accompanied 
the armies to the East brought back with them to 
France, Italy, England, and Germany some improve- 
ments ia the art of fortification. The feudal system, 
already organized, soon put those new methods into 
practice, with never-ceasing amelioration, owing to the 
state of permanent war in which it existed. From the 
close of the twelfth century until towards the middle of 
the fourteenth the defence continued stronger than the 
attack ; nor did this state of things undergo any change 
until gunpowder came into use with artillery. From 
that moment the attack has never ceased to be superior 
to the defence. 

Down to the twelfth century it does not appear that 
towns were defended otherwise than by fortified walls 
with flankirig towers, or by simple palisades with a 
ditch, having wooden towers, or bastiUes, at intervals ; 
which was the Eoman method : but at this time the land 
was covered with castles, and experience had proved 
that a castle could defend itself better than a city. In 
fact, one of the most admitted principles of fortification 
at the present day consists in opposing the greatest 
possible front to the enemy; because the greater the 
fi-ont, the greater the envelope which it requires, and 
the longer and more considerable, therefore, must be the 
labour of the besiegers. But when it was necessary to 
have the battering engines close to the waUs ; when, to 
destroy the works of the besieged, only the sap, the ram, 
the mine, or engines of inconsiderable range of projection 


were employed; wlien the assault could only be madd 
by means of the -wooden towers already described, or 
by scaling the walls, or through breaches ill-made and 
diiScult of access, the more the garrison was concen- 
trated, the more strength it possessed. For the besieg- 
ing army, however numerous it might be, when once 
obliged to come to close quarters, could only have at 
any given point a force equal, at the utmost, to that of 
the besieged. On the other hand, walls of great extent, 
which could be attacked suddenly by a numerous army 
on several points at the same instant of time, divided 
the forces of the besieged; and required an army at 
least equal to the investing force to man the walls pro- 
perly, and to repel attacks which frequently only be- 
came known at the moment of their execution. 

In order to do away with the inconvenience arising 
from having great fronts to fortify, towards the close of 
the twelfth century the idea was started of establishing, 
in advance of the main walls with their flanking towers, 
isolated fortresses or detached forts, intended to keep 
the assailant at a distance from the body of the place, 
and to force him to draw out his lines in contravallation 
to such an extent that an immense army would be re- 
quired to guard them. With the artillery of modern 
times, the converging fire of the besieging army gives it 
a superiority over the (diverging fire of the besieged; 
but before the invention of cannon the attack could only 
be made within a very short distance of the walls, and 
always in a direction perpendicular to the front attacked. 
The besieged had, therefore, an advantage in opposing 
to the assailant isolated points, not commanding one 
another, but well defended; the forces of the enemy 
were thereby scattered, as he was thus obliged to under- 
take several simultaneous attacks, upon points chosen 


by the besieged, and of course well furnished by them 
with the means of resistance. If the assailant left in his 
rear those isolated strongholds, in order to attack the 
fronts of the city, he was open to be taken in the rear by 
the garrisons of the detached forts just at the moment 
of delivering the assault, and his position was therefore 
bad. Sometimes, in order to avoid having to lay siege 
regularly to each of these forts, the besiegers, if they 
had a numerous army, erected hastilles, or towers of 
stone laid without mortar, or of timber or earth, such as 
the Romans were in the habit of erecting, established 
lines of contravallation around the isolated fortresses, 
and having thus hemmed in their garrisons, attacked the 
main body of the place. 

All the preliminary operations Of sieges were long and 
uncertain ; large supplies of timber and projectiles were 
required ; and it frequently happened that the works of 
contravallation, the moveable towers, the fixed bastilles 
of wood and the engines, had hardly been completed, 
when a vigorous sortie of the besieged or a night attack 
destroyed by fire and steel the labour of many months. 
To prevent these disasters, the besieged formed their 
lines of contravallation with double rows of strong pali- 
sades of timber, one behind the other, at the distance of 
a pike-length, (three to four yards) ; then, excavating a 
ditch along the front, they made use of the earth so 
obtained to fill in the space between the palings; they 
covered their machines and their wooden towers, moveable 
and stationary, with ox and horse hides, raw or boiled, or 
with a kind of thick woollen stuflf, so as to render them 
proof against incendiary projectiles. It often happened 
that the parts played by the hostile forces were reversed, 
and that the assailants, driven back by the sorties of 
the garrisons and forced to take refuge in their camp. 


became besieged in their turn. In all ages, the works of 
approacli in sieges have been long and beset with. diflS.- 
culties ; but in the days of which we write, much more 
than at the present time, it was the custom of the be- 
sieged to make frequent sorties from their walls, either 
to skirmish at the barriers and prevent the enemy from 
establishing fixed works, or to destroy the works already 
executed by the assailants. 

Armies were carelessly guarded, as always occurs with 
irregular and ill- disciplined troops ; they trusted to the 
palisades for keeping out the enemy, and every one rely- 
ing upon his neighbour for guarding the works, it fre- 
quently happened that a hundred or so of men-at-arms, 
issuing silently from their gates at dead of night, pene- 
trated without meeting a sentinel to the very heart of 
the encamped army, set fire to their machines of war, 
and cutting the tent-ropes to increase the disorder, were 
able to retire before the bulk of the army could get to 
their legs. In the chronicles of the twelfth, thirteenth, 
and fourteenth centuries, these surprises are of daily 
occurrence, nor "were the armies a whit more careful on 
the morrow. It was generally also during the night 
that, by means of incendiary projectiles, they endea- 
voured on either side to set fire to the timber works 
used in the siege. 

The Orientals possessed projectiles of this nature which 
struck great terror into the armies of the West, a fact 
which would lead us to suppose that they were imac- 
quainted with their composition, at least during the 
crusades of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; and 
they had powerful machines " which differed from those 

' "One evening it happened that the Turks brought an engine, which they 
cnlled the pierrihre, a terrible engine of destruction; and they set it up over 
against the chaz-chateilz (a wooden tower in advance of the walls j vide Du Cange, 


of the Occidentals, as these latter when they adopted 
them gave them names which indicate their origin— as 
TurJcish engines, Turkish pierrieres. 

"We cannot doubt that the crusades, during which so 
many memorable sieges were effected, improved the means 
of attack, and that consequently important modifications 
were introduced into the defence of fortified places. 
Down to the thirteenth century fortification relies chiefly 
upon its passive force, on the mass and the position of its 
walls. It sufficed to enclose a feeble garrison in towers 
and behind walls of great height and thickness, to enable 
them to hold out a long time against assailants whose 
means of attack were weak. The Norman castles, which 
were erected in such numbers by those new conquerors 
of the north-west of France and in England, presented 
masses of building which defied all attempts at escalade 
because of their height, and which were almost beyond 
the reach of the sap. The builders, moreover, were 
always careful to plant, as far as it was possible, these 
castles upon elevated spots, on some table-land or 
high-up level of rock, or even on artificial hillocks; to 
surround them with deep ditches, so as to render it 
impossible to undermine them ; and as a refuge, in the 
event of surprise or treason, the outer enceinte of the 
castle contained always an isolated donjon or keep, com- 

s. V. helfredns, vol. vii. p. 345), by which Messire Gaultier Curel and I kept watch 
during the night. By the which engine they threw on us the fire gregeois a plcmte 
(Greek fire), which was the moet horrible thing that ever I saw in my life. . . . The 
manner of the Cheek fire was in this wise, that in front it was of the bigness of a 
tun, and the tail of it stretched behind to the length of about half a yard (cmssi 
grant comme un, grant glaive). It made such a noise in its coming as if it were a 
thunderbolt falling from heaven, and seemed to me like a great dragon flying in the 
air, and shewed so great a light, that in our lines it was as light as day, so great a 
flame of fire was there. Thrice during that night did they cast the said fire from 
the said pierriire, and four times from the catapult of the tower." — (Jommlle, Hist, 
de Saint Louys^ 


manding the whole of the works, itself frequently sur- 
rounded by a moat and a wall [chemise), and which from 
its position generally close to the outside, and the great 
height of its walls, would enable a few men to hold in 
check a large body of assailants, or to escape if the place 
were no longer tenable. 

But after the first crusades, and when the feudal sys- 
tem had placed in the hands of some of the nobles a 
power almost equal to that of the king, it became ne- 
cessary to discard the system of passive fortification, 
indebted to its mass only for its defensive power, and 
adopt a system of fortification which would give to the 
defence an activity equal to that of the attack, and re- 
quire at the same time more numerous garrisons. It 
no longer sufiiced (and the terrible Simon de Montfort 
had proved the fact) to be in possession of massive 
walls, of castles built upon steep rocks, from the sum- 
mit of which an assailant without active means of at- 
tack might be despised : it was necessary to defend those 
walls and those towers, and to furnish them with nume- 
rous troops, with engines and projectiles ; it was neces- 
sary to multiply the means of inflicting injury on the 
besiegers, to render all his efforts unavailing, by effect- 
ing combinations which he could not foresee, and, above 
all, to place the garrison beyond the reach of surprises 
or coups-de-main : for it not unfrequently happened that 
a place of great strength and well furnished vsdth all the 
munitions of war fell beneath the sudden attack of a 
small troop of daring soldiers, who, passing over the 
bodies of the guards at the barriers, seized on the gates, 
and in this way secured for the main body of the army 
an entrance into the town . 

Towards the end of the twelfth century, and during 
the first half of the thirteenth, the means of attack and 


defence, as we have said, were much improved, and 
especially by their being more methodically carried out. 
We see, then, for the first time in armies and fortified 
places, engineers {ingegneors) specially intrusted with the 
construction of the engines intended for attack and de- 
fence. Amongst these engines there were some which 
were at the same time defensive and offensive, that is to 
say, constructed so as to protect the pioneers and batter 
the wall ; others were offensive merely. When escalade 
(the first means of attack almost always employed) was 
not successful, and the gates were too strongly armed to 
be forced, then it became necessary to undertake a for- 
mal siege ; it was then that the besiegers erected towers 
of wood, moving on rollers (haffraiz), which they endea- 
voured to construct loftier than the walls of the town or 
place besieged, and a kind of moveable platform or gang- 
way called chat, gat, or gate, the Koman musculus which 
Csesar describes at the siege of Marseilles, formed of wood 
and covered with planks, iron, and hides, which was 
pushed to the foot of the walls, and which afforded a 
covering to the assailants when they wanted either to 
employ the mouton or bosson (the battering-ram of the 
ancients), or to undermine the towers or curtains by 
the use of pickaxes, or, lastly, to carry forward earth or 
fascines to fill up the moat. 

In the poem of the crusade against the Albigenses, 
Simon de Montfort frequently uses the gate, which 
appears not only intended to allow the besiegers to sap 
the foot of the walls under cover, but also to play the 
part of the moving tower, in raising a body of troops to 
the level of the parapet : — 

" The Count de Montfort commands : . . . Advance ye now 
the gate and ye will take Toulouse. . . . And they (the French) 
push forward the gate with shouts and shrill cries ; over the 



space betwixt tlie wall (of tlie town) and the castle it advances 
with short leaps, like the sparrow-hawk when it hunts down 
the small birds. Straight forward comes the stone launched by 
the catapult {trebuchet) , and strikes it so fierce a blow on its 
topmost plank, that it breaks open and tears asunder its leathern 
co-vering. ... If you turn the gate, cry the barons (to the 
Count de Montfort), you wiU save it from these strokes. Par 
Dieu, says the Count, and we shall try that ere very long. 
And when the gate turns, it goes on again with short and 
broken leaps. The catapult takes aim, makes ready its charge, 
and deals it so rude a stroke the second time, that the iron and 
steel, the beams and bars, are cut and broken." 

And furtlier on : — 

" The Count de Montfort has gathered together his knights, 
the bravest and best men of the siege ; he has furnished it (the 
gate) with good defences covered with iron on the face, and he 
has put therein his companies of knights, well covered by their 
armour, and with their visors down : so they push the gate 
vigorously and quick. But the men of the town are well ex- 
perienced ; they have made ready their catapults, and placed in 
the slings fine pieces of cut rock, which, when the cords are 
loosed, fly impetuous, and strike the gate on the front and flanks 
so truly, that from doors and floor, from roof and sides, the 
splintered timber flies on all sides, and that, of those who drive 
it forward, many are thrown down. And throughout the whole 
town there is a cry, — 'Far Dieu! dame cat will never catch 
the rats ^' " 

Guillaume Guiart referring to the siege of Boves by- 
Philip Augustus, speaks thus of the cats : — 

" Devant Boves fit I'oat de France, 
Qui contre lea Flamans contance, 

» Mist, de la croisade contre les herUiques Albigeois (Hist, of the Crusade against 
the Albigenses), publ. by C. Fauriel, Collect, de docum. inedits sur I'hist. de 
France, 1« serie, and the MS. of the Imp. Lib. .(fonds La Valli6re, N». 91). This 
MS. is by a contemporary, an eye-witness of the facts he relates ; the exactness of 
the details gives this poem a great interest j we would particularly direct the at- 
tention of the reader to the description of the gate and of its progressing ly little 
leaps, which affords a graphic imagat of the advance of these heavy pieces of frame- 
work carried forward on rollers, with sudden jerks. Such detiuls as these, to be 
described so picturesquely, must have been seen. 



Li mineur pas ne sommeillent, 
Un chat bon et fort appareillent, 
Taut eurent dessous, et tant cavent, 
Qu'nne grant part du mur destravent . . .' " 

And in the year 1205 : — 

" Un chat font sur le pent atraire, 
Dont piega mention feismes. 
Qui fit de la roohe meiame, 
Li mineur desous se lancent, 
Le fort mur ^ miner commencent, 
Et font le chat si aombrer. 
Que riens ne les pent encombrer "." 

In order to protect the labourers who were making 
a causeway to cross a branch of the Nile, Saint Louis 
''caused to be made two towers (haffrais), which are 
called chas chateih. For there were two castles {ehateih) 
before the cats or galleries {chas), and two houses behiad 
to receive the strokes which the Saracens dealt by 
their engines, whereof they had sixteen with which they 
did wonders'"." The assailants supported their towers 

' Before Boves was the army of France, which acts against the Flemings. The 
miners do not sleep, but prepare a cliat good and strong; and so many get under 
it and so hard they work, that they destroy a great portion of the wall. 

" A cat is drawn upon the bridge, which we have already mentioned as being 
a portion of the rock itself; the miners rush under it, commence to undermine the 
strong wall, and have the cat so well covered, that nothing can reach those within. 
• The Sire de Joinville, Hist, dm roy Saint Louys, edit. 1668. Du Gauge, p. 37. 
In his observations, p. 66, Du Cange thus explains this passage: — "The king. 
Saint Louis, had therefore constructed two ieffrois, or wooden towers, to guard 
those who were working at the causeway; and those towers were called chats- 
chateils, that is to say cati castellati, because above these cats {chats) there were 
castles. For these were not galleries simply, as the cats were, but galleries de- 
fended by towers and leffrois. Saint Louis, in one of his epistles, speaking of this 
causeway, says : — Saraceni autem i contra totis resistentes conatibus machinis 
nostris guas erexeramiiSj ibidem macMnas ofposuerunt gua/m/pl/tires, quibus casfella 
nostra lignea, qiicc super passum collocarifeceranms eimdem, conqtiassata tapidiius 
et confracta combusserunf totaliter igne grceco .... And I believe that the lower 
story of these towers (chateils) were used as cats and galleries, wherefore the cats 
of this description were called chas chdtels, that is to say, as I have already ob- 
served, cats fortified by castles. The author who has described the siege which 
was laid to Zara by the Venetians in the year 1346, lib. ii. c. 6, aptid Joan. Jjudum 
de regno Dalmat., gives also an account of this kind of cat : — Alivd erat hoc 
ingenium, unus cattus ligneus satis debilis erat confectionis, quern machincB jadree 
scepms jactando penetrabant, in quo erat constrncta quadam emineas turris duorum 

D 2 


and cats by battering macMnes, catapults (trebucheis, 
triluquiaux), mangonels (mangoniaux), calahres and pier- 
riers, and by crossbow-men protected by boulevards or 
palisades filled in with earth and wattles, or by trencbes, 
fascines, and mantelets. Those several engines {tre- 
huchetSy calahres, mangonels, and pierriers) were worked 
by counterpoise, and possessed great accuracy in their 
aim''; they could do no more, however, than destroy 
the crest-works and hinder the besieged from keeping 
upon their walls, or dismount their machines. 

propngnaadorwm. Ipsam duce maximce cmmca swpportahcmt. And because these 
machines were not simple chats, they were called chats-fomx (false cats), being 
made in the form of turrets or towers, and nevertheless used as cats. And it is 
thus we should understand the following passage of Froissart : — ' On the day after, 
there came to the duke of Normandy two master-engineers, and said — Sir, if you 
will let as home tv>nber and workmen we will makefoii/r great chaffoMX (some copies 
says chats) which would he hrought close to the walls and shovld he high enough to 
overtop them' Whence comes the word eschaffamx (scaffolds) amongst us, to signify 
a raised wooden platform." — See the Seciteil de Bowgogne, by M, Perard, p. 395. 

y See Etudes stir le passe et I'avenir de I'a/rtillerie (Studies of the Past and 
Future of Artillery), by Prince Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, Presid. of the Bepubl., 
vol. ii. This work, characterized by much learned research, is certainly the most 
complete of all those on the subject of ancient artillery; the description given of 
the trehuchet, by the illustrious author, is as follows : — " It consisted of a beam 
called verge or fliche, turning round a horizontal axis supported upon uprights. 
At one extremity of the beam was fixed a counterpoise, and at the other a sling 
which contained the projectile. To make ready the machine, that is to say, to 
lower the verge, a winch was employed. The sling was the part of the machine of 
most importance, and according to experiments and calculations inserted by Colonel 
Dufour in his interesting Memoire, On the Artillery of the Ancients, (Geneva, 
1840) this sling increased the range to more than double, that is to say, that if the 
Jliche had terminated merely en euilleron, or in the form of a bowl, as was the case 
with certain hurling engines used by the nations of antiquity, the projectile, every- 
thing else being equal, would have been thrown to only half the distance it was 
with the sling. 

" The experiments which we have made, on a small scale, have yielded the same 

A machine of this kind was executed at full size, by the orders of the President 
of the Eepublic, in 1850, and tried at Vincennes. Thejlkche was 33.79 feet long, 
the counterpoise being fixed at 9,900 lbs. ; and, after some preliminary experiments, 
a 24 pounder was hurled to a distance of 191 yards, a bomb of 0.22 m., filled vrith 
earth, to the distance of 155 yards, and bombs of 0.27 and 0.32 m. respectively, to 
131 yards. (See the Report addressed to the Minister of War by Captain Fav6, 
vol. ii. p. 38.) 


From the earliest times the mine had been used to 
destroy portions of the walls and eflfect a breach. The 
miners, in so far of course as the nature of the ground 
permitted, cut a trench in the rear of the ditch, passed 
underneath, reached the foundations, sapped them and 
underpinned them with shores of timber covered with 
pitch and grease; then set fire to the shores and the 
walls fall. The besiegers, in order to protect themselves 
from these subterraneous works, established generally 
on the reverse of the ditch either palisades, or a con- 
tinuous wall, the latter of which was a true covered-way 
which commanded the approaches, obliging the assail- 
ants to commence their mine at a considerable distance 
from the ditches; or, as a last resource, they counter- 
mined with the view of reaching the gallery of the 
assailants, whom, in that case, they drove back, or 
suffocated by throwing burning fascines into the gal- 
leries, and destroyed their works. There exists a 
curious Eeport of the seneschal of Carcassonne, Guil- 
laume des Ormes, addressed to Queen Blanche, regent 
of France during the absence of Saint Louis on the 
raising of the siege laid to that place by Trencavel in 
1240 '', At that period the city of Carcassonne was not 
defended in the way we now find it " ; the fortifications 
consisted merely of the Yisigoth walls, repaired in the 
twelfth century, with a first enciente (or lists), which 
could not have been of any great importance (see fig. 9), 
and some out-works (barbicans). The detailed bulletin 
of the operations of attack and defence of this place, 

• See BiMioth. de Vecole des Chartes, vol. vii. p. 363, Eeport published by 
M. Drouet d'Arcq. This text is reproduced in the work by Prince Napoleon 
Bonaparte (Napoleon III.), already quoted. 

» Saint liouis and Philip the Bold executed immense works of fortification at 
Carcassonne, to which we shall have occasion to return. 


given by the senesclial, Guillaume des Ormes, is in 
Latin, of whicli the following is a translation : — 

" To tlie excellent and illustrious lady, Blanche, by the Grace 
of God Queen of the Frencli, Guillaume des Ormes, senesclial 
of Carcassonne, her humble, devoted, and faithful servant, 

greeting : — 

"Madam, these presents are to make known to your Ex- 
cellency that the town of Carcassonne was besieged, by the 
self-called viscount and his accomplices, on Monday, Sept. 17, 
1240. Whereupon we, who were in the place, instantly took 
from them the bourg (or suburb) of Graveillant, which lies m 
front of the Toulouse gate, and there we found great store of 
timber fit for carpentry uses, which was of great service. The 
said bourg extends from the city barbican to the angle of the 
said (fortified) place. The same day the enemy were enabled to 
carry a mill which we held, by reason of the multitude of peo- 
ple which they had (with them) " ; and afterwards Olivier de 
Termes, Bernard Hugon de Serre-Longue, G^raut d'Aniort, 
and those who were with them, encamped between the angle of 
the town and the water ° ; and on the same day, by the aid of 
the ditches which were there, and by cutting up the roads lying 
between them and us, they shut themselves in, in order that we 
might not be able to go to them. 

" On the other side, between the bridge and the castle bar- 
bican, were established Pierre de Fenouillet, and Eenaud du 
Buy, Guillaume Fort, Pierre de la Tour, and many others of 
Carcassonne. At the one place and the other, they had so 
many crossbow-men that nobody could go out from the town. 

" Afterwards they pointed a mangonel against our barbican ; 
and we, on our side, forthwith planted in the barbican a Turkish 
petraria *, exceeding good, which threw projectiles towards the 
said mangonel and around it; in such sort that, when they 

'■ Probably the moulin du roi lying between the barbican of the castle and the 
river Aude. 

"= On the west side, see fig. 11. 

'' " Postea dressarunt mangonellum quemdam ante nostram barbacanam, et nos 
contra ilium statim dressavimus quamdam petrariam turquesiam valde bonam, 
infra . . . ." 


wanted to fire upon us, immediately they saw the pole of our 
pefraria in motion, they took to flight and abandoned altogether 
their mangonel ; and there they formed ditches and palisades. 
We also, every time we fired off the petraria, retired from 
around it, because we could not go to them, on account of the 
ditches, fences, and wells which were there. 

" Afterwards, Madam, they began a mine against the barbican 
of the Narbonnaise gate « ; and forthwith we, having heard the 
noise of the work underground, made a counter mine, and we 
made in the inside of the barbican a great and strong wall of 
stones laid dry, so that we could thereby" protect the full half of 
the barbican ; and then they set fire to the hole they were 
making, in such wise that the wood having been burnt, a por- 
tion of the front of the barbican fell down. 

"They began to mine against another turret of the lists ^; 
we countermined and succeeded in taking . possession of the 
chamber which they had formed. They began, thereupon, to 
run a mine between us and a certain wall and they destroyed 
two crenelles of the lists ; but we set up there a good and strong 
paling between them and us. 

" They undermined also the angle of the town wall, in the 
direction of the bishop's housed, and by dint of mining they 

' To the east, see fig. 11. 

' To the south, see fig. 11. The name of lists Q,ices) was given to an external 
wall or palisade of wood, formed heyond the walls, which formed a kind of covered- 
way ; the lists were almost always protected by a shallow moat, and sometimes 
there was a second ditch between them and the town walls. By an extension of 
the term, the name of lists was ^ven to the space comprised between the palisades 
and the town walls, and even to the external enceintes, when, at a later period, 
they were built of masonry and flanked by towers. The palisades which surrounded 
a camp were also called lists : — " Licis, castrorum aut urbium repagula." Hpist. 
anom/mi de eapta wrbe CP., ann. 1204, apud Marten., vol. i. Anecd., coll. 786: 
" Exercitum nostrum grossis palis circumcinximus et liciis." Will. Guiart MS. : — 

'* . . . L^ tendent les tentes faitices. 
Puis environnent Post de lices." 

Le Roman de Garin : — 

" Devant les lices eommencent li hustins." 

Chiill. a/rchiep. Tyr. contimiata Hist. Oallico idiomate, v. 5. Ampliss. Collect. 
Marten., coL 620 : " Car quant li chrestiens vindrent devant Alexandre, le baillif 
les fist herbergier, et faire bones lices enter eux, etc." (Du Cange, Gloss.) 

B At the south-west angle, see fig. 11. 


arrived under a certain Saracen wall'', at tlie wall of the lists ; 
but immediately as we perceived this, we made a good and 
strong paling between us and them, higher up in the lists, and 
we countermined. Thereupon they fired their mine and flung 
us to a distance of some ten fathom from our crenelles. But we 
forthwith made a good and strong paling and thereon a good 
brattish' (or breast- work) (15) with good archieres^ : so that 
none amongst them dared to come near us in this quarter. 

"They began also. Madam, a mine against the barbican of 
the gate of Rhodez', and they kept beneath, because they 
wished to arrive at our walls™, and they made a marvellous 
great passage ; but we, having perceived it, forthwith made a 
great and strong paling both on one side and the other thereof ; 
we countermined likewise, and having fallen in with them, we 
carried the chamber of their m.ine °. 

" Know also, Madam, that since the beginning of the siege 

^ Saracen wall : probably some out-work of the ancient Visigoth fortification. 
' " Sretaehice, castella lignea, quibua castra et oppida muuiebantur ; gallicS 
iretesques, hreteques, hreteches." — (Du Cange, Gloss.) 

" La ville fit mult richement garnir. 
Lea fosses fere, et les murs enforcir, 
Les bretesclies drecier et esTjaudir." — (Le Roman de Garin,) 

*' — As bretecbes motiterent, et au mur quernelfi . . , 
— Les breteches garnir, et les pertus garder. 
— Entour ont breteecbes leviSes, 
Bien plancM^es et quemel6s." — [Le Homan d6 Vacees.) 

.... The bretSohes (in old English Brettis, Brattish) were often understood aa 
hoitrds or hoards. The bretachial spoken of by the seneschal, GuUlaume des Ormes, 
in his Report addressed to Queen Blanche, were temporary works erected behind 
the palisade to enable those within to attack the assailants after they had effected 
a breach. We give an illustration (15) of the works alluded to by the seneschal of 

i* ArcMhres : long and narrow slits made in the masonry of towers and fortified 
walls, or in hoarding and palisades, to allow arrows and bolts to be shot agdnst the 

' On the north, see fig. 11. 

'" This passage, as well as those which precede it, describing the mines of the 
besiegers, clearly proves that at that time the city of Carcassonne was provided 
with a double enceinte: the besiegers in fact are shewn to have passed under the 
outer enciente for the purpose of undermining the inner rampart. 

" Thus, when the besieged became aware of the miners being at work, they 
erected palisades both above and below the supposed opening of the gallery, in order 
to enclose the assailants between barricades which they were obliged to force before 
they could make any further advance. 



JFig. 15. Part of Carcassonne defended by ■wood-'wori: when a 'breacli -was made. 

they have never ceased to make assaults upon us ; but we had 
such good crossbows, and men animated with so true a desire 
to defend themselves, that it was in their assaults they suffered 
their heaviest losses. 

" At last, on a certain Sxmday, they called together all their 
men-at-arms, crossbow-men and others, and all, together, assailed 
the barbican, at a point below the castle". We descended to 
the barbican, and hurled so many stones and bolts that we 
forced them to abandon the said assault, wherein several of 
them were killed and wounded K 

° The principal barbican, situate on the side of the Aude, to the west, see fig. 11. 

p In efiect, it was necessary to descend from the castle situate on the crest of 
the hill, to the barbican, which commanded the faubourg lying at the base of the 
escarpment. See the plan of the city of Carcassonne, after the siege of 1240 j 
fig. 16. 


"But tte Sunday following, after the feast of St. Micliael, 
they made a very great assault on us; and we, thanks to 
G-od and our people, who shewed great good will in defending 
themselves, repulsed them; several amongst them were killed 
and wounded ; none of our men, thanks be to God, were either 
killed or received a mortal wound. But at last, on Monday, 
Oct. 11, towards evening, they heard news that your people, 
Madam, were coming to our aid, and they set fire to the houses 
of the bourg of Carcassonne. They have destroyed wholly the 
houses of the Brothers Minors, and the houses of a monastery 
of the blessed Virgin Mary, which were in the bourg, to obtain 
the wood wherewith they made their palisades. All those who 
were engaged in the said siege abandoned it secretly that same 
night, even those who were resident in the bourg. 

"As for us, we were well prepared, to God be thanks, to 
await. Madam, your assistance, so much so that none of our 
people were in want of provisions, how poor soever they might 
be; nay more. Madam, we had in abundance corn and meat 
enough to enable us to wait during a long time, if so it was 
necessary, for your succour. Know, Madam, that these evil 
doers killed, on the second day after their arrival, thirty-three 
priests and other clerks, whom they found on entering the 
bourg; know moreover. Madam, that the Seigneur Pierre de 
Voisin, your constable of Carcassonne, Raymond de Capendu, 
and Gerard d'Ermenville, have borne themselves very well in 
this afiair. ]N^evertheless the constable, by his vigilance, his 
valour, and his coolness, distinguished himself above all others. 
As for the other matters concerning these parts, we will be able. 
Madam, to speak the truth to you respecting them when we 
shall be in your presence. Know therefore. Madam, that they 
had begun to mine against us strongly in seven places. We 
have nearly everywhere countermined, and have not spared our 
pains. They began to mine from the inside of their houses, so 
that we knew nothing thereof until they arrived at our lists. 

"Done at Carcassonne, Oct. 13, 1240. 

" Know, Madam, that the enemy have burnt the castles and 
the open places which they passed in their flight." 

As for tlie battering-ram of the ancients, it was cer- 


tainly employed in battering the base of the walls in 
sieges, from the twelfth century down. We borrow an- 
other passage from the Provencal poem of the Crusade 
against the Albigenses, a passage which can leave no 
doubt upon this point. Simon de Montfort wishes to 
succour the castle of Beaueaire which holds out for him, 
and is besieged by the inhabitants ; he besieges the town, 
but has not constructed machines sufficient for his pur- 
pose ; the assaults are without result ; during this time, 
the people of Provenye press harder and harder on the 
castle (capitole). 

" , . . . But tliose of the town liave raised against (the men 
of the castle) engines wherewith they batter the capitole and the 
watch-tower in such sort that the beams, the stone, and the 
lead are shattered by them ; and on Easter-day is prepared the 
bosson, which bosson is long, straight, sharp, shod with iron ; 
which so strikes, cuts, and smashes, that the wall is damaged, 
and several stones fly from it, here and there ; but the besieged, 
when they perceive this, are not discouraged. They make a 
noose of rope, which is attached to a machine of wood, and by 
means thereof the head of the bosson is caught and held fast. 
Whereat the men of Beaueaire are greatly troubled, until there 
conies the engineer who set the bosson in motion. And many 
of the besiegers have planted themselves on the crags, to try 
and split the wall by striking it with sharpened pick-axes. 
And the men of the capitol, having perceived them, sew up, 
mingled together in a cloth, fire, sulphur, and flax, which they 
let down at the end of a chain alongside the waU, and when the 
fire has taken, and the sulphur melts, the flame and smell choke 
the pioneers to such a degree that not one of them can or does 
remain. But they go to their petrarits (catapults) and make 
them play so well that they break and destroy the barriers 
and beams i.-" 

This curious passage shews what were the means em- 

" Passage of Proven9al Poetry, p. 350. 


ployed, in those times, for battering the walls at close 
quarters, when the object sought was to effect a breach, 
and the situation of the place did not allow of piercing 
galleries for the mines, placing shores under the foun- 
dations, or of setting fire to the works attacked. As 
regards the means of defence, there is mention at every 
page, in this history of the crusade against the Albi- 
genses, of barriers, lists of wood, and palisades. When 
Simon de Montfort is obliged to return to besiege Tou- 
louse, notwithstanding his having previously razed almost 
all the walls to their foundations, he finds the city de- 
fended by ditches and works constructed of timber. The 
castle called the Narbonnais, alone, is still in his power. 
The brother of the Count, Guy de Montfort, is the first 
to arrive with his terrible fanatics. The knights have 
dismounted, they break in the barriers and the gates, 
they force their way into the streets ; but there they are 
received by the inhabitants and the men of the Count de 
Toulouse, and are forced to beat a retreat, when Simon 
arrives upon the scene, furious : — 

" How comes it/' he cries to Ms brotter, " that ye have not, 
ere this, destroyed the town and burnt its houses ?" 

" We have attacked the town," replies Count Guy, " beaten 
in the defences, and found ourselves pell-mell with the inhabit- 
ants in the streets ; there have we met knights and burghers, 
and workmen, armed with clubs, and bills, and sharp axes, who, 
with great shouts and hisses and deadly blows, have sent you, 
by us, your rents and your taxes, and Don Guy, your marshal, 
can tell you how many silver marcs they flung us down from 
their roof-tops ! By the fealty I owe you, not a man among us 
is so brave, but, when they hunted us out through their gates, he 
would have liked better a fever or a pitched battle . . . ." 

The Count de Montfort, however, is obliged to imder- 
take a regular siege, after renewed and fruitless attacks. 
" He posts his divisions {batailks) in the gardens, he furnishes 


the walls of the castle and the orchards with crossbows on 
wheels *' and sharp arrows. On their side, the townsmen under 
their liege lord strengthen the barriers, occupy the grounds 
round about, and unfurl in divers places their banners, with 
two red crosses and the ensign of the Count (Rajrmond) ; whilst 
upon the scaffolds " and in the galleries ' the most valiant and 
steady are posted, armed with poles shod with iron, and with 
stones to hurl down upon the enemy. Below, on the groimd, 
have remained others, bearing lances and dartz porcarissals, to 
defend the lists, to the end that none of the assailants should be 
enabled to near the palisade. At the embrasures (fenestrals) 
and loop-holes archers defend the ambons and the parapets, 
with long bows of divers sorts, and hand crossbows. Tubs" 
are placed about full of bolts and arrows. Everywhere round 
about the crowd of people are armed with axes, clubs, poles shod 
with iron ; whilst noble dames and the women of the city carry 
to them crocks and great stones, easy to hold and throw. The 
town is bravely fortified at its gates ; bravely also and in good 
array do the barons of France, well stocked with fire and 
ladders, and heavy stones, draw near to the place from divers 
directions to seize on the barbicans^ . . . ." 

But the siege becomes protracted, and the winter 
conies; the Count de Montfort postpones his prepara- 
tions for the attack until spring. 

" . . . . Within and without are to be seen none but workmen, 
who fill the town, the gates and boulevards, the walls, the 
brattishes and the double palisades {cadafalcs dobliers), the 
moats, the lists, the bridges, the stair-flights. In Toulouse are 
none to be seen but carpenters, who make trebuchets and other 
engines, active and powerful, which in the castle of Narbonne, 

' Balestas tornissas (verses 6,313 and foil.) : probably as in the text. 

' Cadafals, probably iretachice, see fig. 15. 

' Corseras, hoards, or parapets probably ; cowrsi&res. 

" Semals. The wooden tubs in which the grapes are carried at harvest-time 
are still sometimes called semals, but more frequently comportes. They are oval- 
shaped, vpith wooden handles, through which two poles are passed for the purpose 
of carri^e. 

» Bocals, entrances to the lists. 


against wliicli they are pointed, leave neither tower, nor room, 
nor parapet, nor a whole wall, standing . . . ." 

Simon de Montfort returns, he invests the town more 
closely, he seizes on the two towers which command the 
banks of the Garonne, he fortifies the hospital which lies 
outside the ramparts, and converts it into a fortress with 
moats, palisades, and barbicans complete. He strengthens 
his lines with sunk ditches, and walls pierced with seve- 
ral heights of embrasures. But after many an assault, 
and many a feat of arms devoid of good result to the 
besiegers, the Count de Montfort is killed by a projectile, 
launched from a pierrier worked by some women near 
to Saint-Sernin, and the siege is raised. 

On his return from his first crusade. Saint Louis 
wished to make Carcassonne one of the strongest places 
in his domaine. The inhabitants of the faubourgs, who 
had opened their gates to the army of Trencavel '', were 
driven out of their ruined dwellings, burnt by him whose 
cause they had espoused, and their ramparts were razed 
to the ground. It was not until seven years after this 
siege that Saint Louis, moved by the entreaties of 
Bishop Eadulfus, granted by letters patent to the exiled 
burghers permission to rebuild a town on the opposite 
bank of the Aude, not wishing to have near the city 
subjects of such doubtful fidelity. The royal saint began 
by rebuilding the external enceinte, which was not of 
sufficient strength, and which had been much injured by 
the troops of Trencavel. He erected the enormous tower, 
called la Barbacane^ as likewise the ramps which com- 
manded the banks of the Aude and the bridge, and 
which allowed the garrison of the castle to make sorties 

>■ The faubourga which surrounded the city of Carcassonne were enclosed by 
walls and palisades at the date of the siege described by the Seneschal Guillaume 
des Ormes. 


■without being interrapted by the besiegers, were these 
even masters of the first lines. There is every reason 
for believing that the external towers and walls were 
erected somewhat hurriedly after the failure of Tren- 
cavel's expedition, in order first of all to place the city 
beyond the reach of a surprise, whilst the internal en- 
ceinte was being repaired and enlarged. The towers of 
this external line of wall were open towards the town, 
in order to render the possession of them useless to the 
besiegers, and the parapets of the curtains are on the 
same level as the ground of the lists, so that, if taken, 
they could not be used as a rampart against the besieged, 
who, being in force, would be able to throw themselves 
on the assailants and drive them back into the moats, 

Philip the Bold, during the war with the King of 
Arragon, prosecuted these works with great activity 
untn his death (a,d. 1285). Carcassonne was at that 
time a frontier place of great importance, and the King 
of France held his parliament there. He erected the 
curtains, towers, and gates, on the eastern side'', ad- 
vanced the internal line of fortification on the south side, 
and had the walls and towers repaired of the old Visigoth 
enceinte, "We subjoin (fig. 16), the plan of the place 
as thus modified. At A is the great barbican on the 
side of the Aude, of which mention has been made, with 
its ramps fortified as far as the castle, F. These ramps, 
or slopes, are arranged so as to be commanded by the 
external defences of the castle ; it was only after having 
passed through several gates, and followed various wind- 
ings, that the assailant (admitting that he had obtained 
possession of the barbican) could arrive at the gate, L ; 

« Amongst others, the tower known as that of the Tresau, and the gate called 
the Narbormaise. 



!Fi^. 16. Plan of Carcassonne as fortified by S. Louis, 

A. The great Barbican. B. Gate of Narbonne. C. Gate of the Aude. 

D. The great Postern. E. Barhican of the Castle. F. The Castle. 

G. The Church. H. The Cloister. I. A Courtyard. 

K. The Hall. L. Entrance Passage. M. The Tower of the Treasury. 

N. The Moat of the Castle. O. A lofty Tower. P. Barbican of the Postern. 

Q. Tower of the Angle. R. Square Tower. S. Ditch or Moat of the City. 

T. V. X. Y. The Lists between the inner and outer walls of enceinte, or enclosure. 

and here lie ■would be obliged, witbin a narrow space 
completely commanded by towers and walls of great 
height, and having in his rear an escarpment which 
deprived him of all power of bringing up engines or of 


using them, to lay siege regularly to tlie castle. On the 
side of the town this castle was defended by a wide 
moat, N", and a barbican, E, built by Saint Louis. From 
the great barbican to the gate of the Aude you ascended 
by a narrow path, embattled on the side of the valley so 
as to defend the whole of the re-entering angle formed 
by the slopes of the castle and the walls of the town. 
At B is situate the Narbonnaise gate on the eastern side, 
which was provided with a barbican and protected by a 
ditch and a second barbican, the latter being palisaded 
merely. At S, on the side from which the foot of the 
walls could be reached almost on the level, is a wide 
moat. This moat and its approaches are commanded by 
a strong and lofty tower, 0, itself an isolated fortress, 
capable, alone, of sustaining a siege, even were the whole 
of the first lines to fall into the hands of the enemy. 
We have every reason to believe that this tower com- 
municated with the internal walls by means of a subter- 
ranean passage which was reached by a well sunk in the 
basement of the keep, but which, being at present filled 
up, has not yet been discovered. The lists are comprised 
between the two enclosures of the Narbonnaise gate at 
X, y, as far as the tower at the angle, Q. If the besieg- 
ing force took possession of the first defences on the 
south side, and wanted, by following the lists, to arrive 
at the gate of the Aude at C, he found himself stopped 
by a quadrangular tower, E, erected over and upon the 
two walls of the enceintes, and furnished with barriers 
and battlements. If he succeeded in passing between the 
Narbonnaise gate and the barbican at B, — a difficult task, 
— he had to cross over, in order to enter, at Y, into the 
lists of the north-east, a narrow space, commanded by an 
enormous tower, M, called the Tour du Tresau. From 
Y to T, he was taken in flank by the high towers of the 


Yisigoths, repaired by Saint Louis and Philip the Bold, 
and he found a further defence at the angle of the castle. 
At D is a great postern protected by a barbican, P; 
other posterns are distributed along the enceinte, aUov- 
ing the guard to make the round of the lists, and even 
to reach the open country, without having to throw 
open the principal gates. This was an important point. 
It will be observed that the postern opening from the 
tower, D, and giving access to the lists, is placed late- 
rally, and masked by the projection of the counterfort in 
the angle, the sill of this postern being more than two 
yards above the external ground level: thus it became 
necessary to plant a ladder against it for ingress or 
egress. Prom the numberless precautions then taken to 
defend the gates, it is natural to suppose that the assail- 
ants were in the habit of looking on them as weak points. 
The use of artillery has modified this opinion, by chang- 
ing the means of attack; but at that time it may be 
conceived, that whatever may have been the obstacles 
accumulated round an entrance, the besiegers stiU pre- 
ferred making an effort to overcome them, to esta- 
blishing himself at the foot of a strong tower in order 
to undermine it by manual labour, or to batter it by 
means of engines of imperfect construction. Therefore 
when, during the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth 
centuries, they wished to convey a high idea of the 
strength of a place, they said it had only one or two 
gates. But, as regarded the besieged, and especially 
when they had to guard a double line of fortifications, 
it was necessary nevertheless to have an easy commu- 
nication between these two lines, in order to be able 
rapidly to send aid to any given point of attack. This 
is the reason why we find, in looking over the internal 
enceinte of the Carcassonne, a large number of posterns 


more or less concealed, and the purpose of which was to 
enable the garrison to spread themselves over the lists 
from several different points at the same given moment, 
or to fall rapidly back withia the second walls, if the 
first had been carried. Beside the two great public 
gates, that of the Aude and the Narbonnaise, we reckon 
six open posterns, the internal levels of which are some 
yards above the outer ground-level, and access to which, 
consequently, could only be had by means of ladders. 
There is one, more particularly, pierced in the great cur- 
tain of the Bishop's Palace, which is only a little more 
than six feet high by somewhat less than a yard in width, 
and the sill of which is placed at a level of some thirty- 
nine feet above the ground of the lists. In the external 
enceinte, we discover another made in the curtain-wall 
between the gate of the Aude and the castle : this latter 
opens above an escarpment of rocks twenty -two or 
twenty-three feet high. Through these openings, in 
case of blockade and by means of rope ladders, the be- 
sieged could receive during the night emissaries from 
without without fear of treachery, or send forth into 
the country their messengers or spies. These two pos- 
terns, it will be seen, are placed on that side where the 
fortifications are inaccessible to the enemy by reason of 
the escarpment which overlooks the river Aude. The 
latter postern, which is pierced in the wall of the ex- 
ternal enceinte, opens into the enclosed space protected 
by the great barbican and by the battlemented wall 
which followed the ramps of the river gate; it could 
thus serve, if need were, for pouring into this enclosure 
a company of determined soldiers, to cause a diversion, 
in case the enemy should be pressing too hard on the 
defences of this gate or on the barbican, by setting fire 
to the engines, turrets, or chats, of the besiegers. It is 

E 2 


certain that a great importance was attached to the 
barbicans; for by these the besieged were enabled to 
make their sorties. On this ground the barbican of Car- 
cassonne is of great interest (fig. 12). Built at the base 
of the hill, on the summit of which the castle is erected, 
it places this latter in communication with the banks of 
the Aude " ; it forces the assailant to keep at a distance 
from the ramparts of the castle ; of dimension vast enough 
to contain from fifteen to eighteen hundred foot-soldiers, 
without reckoning those which manned the walls, it 
permitted the concentration of a considerable body of 
troops who might, by a vigorous sortie, drive back the 
besiegers into the river. The barbican of the castle of 
the city of Carcassonne completely masks the gate, B, 
the slopes of which descend into the open country. 
Those slopes, E, are battlemented right and left. Their 
continuity is broken by pierced screen walls, and the 
whole work, which ascends by a steep ascent towards 
the castle, is enfiladed in its entire length by a tower 
and two upper curtain walls. If the besiegers succeeded 
in arriving at the top of the first slope, they had to make 
a detour in the direction E', and were then taken in 
flank ; at F they found a fortified parapet, and further, 
a gate strongly defended and embattled; if they got 
through this first gate, they had to pass along a parapet 
with pierced embrasures, force a barrier, then take a 
sudden turn and attack a second gate, G, exposed also 
to a flank fire. Having taken this, they found them- 
selves before a considerable and well-defended work: 
this consisted of a long passage surmounted by two 

• The plan which we here give is drawn to a scale of 1 centimHre to 15 mUres. 
The barbican of Carcassonne was destroyed in 1821, to allow of the erection of a 
mill ; its foundations only exist, but its ramparts are for the most part preserved, 
particularly in the portion adjoining the castle, which is the most interesting. 


stories, under -whicli they had to pass. The first com- 
manded the last gate, by means of a defence of timber- 
work, and was pierced with loop-holes the whole length 
of the passage ; the second communicated with the 
pierced parapet opening either on the exterior on the 
side of the slopes, or on the portion over this same 
passage. The floor of the first story communicated 
with the parapet of the outer walls of the lists only by 
means of a small gate. If the assailants succeeded in 
obtaining possession of it by escalade, they were taken 
in a trap; for, once the small gate closed upon them, 
they found themselyes exposed to the projectiles flung 
from the battlements of the second story, and the ex- 
tremity of the floor being suddenly cut off at H on the 
side opposite the entrance, they found it impossible to 
advance beyond. If they cleared the passage on the 
ground-level, they were stopped by the third gate, H, 
in a wall surmounted by the battlements of the third 
story, communicating with the upper parapet-walk of 
the castle. If, by an almost impossible chance, they 
were able to seize on the second story, they found there 
no other mode of egress than through a small gate 
opening into a second room situate along the walls of 
the castle, and whose only means of communication with 
the latter was by winding passages which could be 
easily barricaded in a moment, and which, moreover, 
were defended by strong embrasures. If, in spite of 
all these accumulated obstacles, the besiegers forced the 
third gate, they then would have to attack the postern, I, 
of the castle, guarded by a formidable system of de- 
fences: loop-holes, two rows of battlements, one over 
the other, a drawbridge, a portcuUis and some embra- 
sures. Were this gate carried, they were stUl at a 
depth of more than seven yards below the iatemal 


courtyard, L, of the castle, whicli they could reach only 
along narrow sloping passages, and by passing through 
several doors at K. 

Supposing the attack was made from the side of the 
gate of the Aude, they were stopped by a guard-house, 
T, by a gate with a work of timber, and by a double 
row of battlements pierced in the floor of an upper 
story, communicating with the great south hall of the 
castle by means of a passage constructed of wood, which 
could be destroyed at a moment's notice; so that, by 
taking possession of this upper story, you had effected 
nothing. If, after having forced the gate on the ground- 
floor, you pushed on in advance along the parapet-way 
of the great square tower, S, you came shortly upon 
a gate strongly defended with battlements, and built 
parallel to the passage, GH. Beyond this gate with 
its defences was a second gate, narrow and low, in the 
massive inner wall, Z, which had to be forced; then, 
finally, you arrived at the postern, I, of the castle. If, 
on the contrary (but this was an impossible undertaking), 
the assailant presented himself on the opposite side, by 
the north lists, he was stopped by a defence at V. On 
this side, however, the attack could not be attempted, 
for this is the point of the city which is most strongly 
defended by nature ; and in order to force the first en- 
ceinte between the Tour de Tresau (see fig. 16) and the 
angle of the castle, it was necessary first of aU to cUmb 
a steep incline, and to scale the crags. Besides, m at- 
tacking the north gate, V, the besiegers presented them- 
selves in fiank before the defenders who manned the 
high walls and towers of the second enceinte. The 
massive internal wall, Z, which, starting from the cur- 
tain of the castle, advances at right angles as far as 
the descent to the barbican, was crowned by transverse 


battlements wliicli commanded tlie gate, H, and was 
terminated at its extremity by a bartizan, or watch- 
turret, which, allowed what was passing in the rampe, 
or sloping walk, descending to the barbican, to be seen, 
with a view to internal measures of defence in case of 
surprise ; or to reconnoitre the troops when returning 
from the barbican to the castle. 

The castle could thus hold out for a long time, al- 
though the town and its environs should be in the hands 
of the enemy ; its garrison, defending with ease the bar- 
bican and its ramparts, remained masters of the Aude 
(the bed of which was at that time closer to the city 
than it is at the present day), and could thus receive 
their provisions by the way of the river, and prevent 
any blockade from being effected on that side ; since it 
was quite impossible for a body of troops to take up a 
position between this barbican and the Aude without 
danger, they having no cover, and the flat and marshy 
ground beiag commanded on all sides. The barbican 
had the further advantage of placing the king's mill 
in communication with the garrison of the castle, and 
this mill was itself fortified. A plan of the city of Car- 
cassonne, surveyed ia 1774, mentions in its title a great 
subterraneous passage existing under the boulevard of 
the barbican, but which had been long closed up and 
partially filled. This subterraneous passage may have 
been intended to establish a secret communication be- 
tween this mill and the fortress. 

On the side of the town, the castle of Carcassonne was 
likewise defended by a great barbican, C, in advance of 
the moat. A gate, A', strongly defended, gave entrance 
into this barbican ; the bridge, C, communicated with the 
principal gate, 0. Yast porticoes, or sheds, N, were pro- 
vided for lodging a temporary garrison in case of siege. 



toil DE 


■'■■?^vli:*ii«'"!!-;;;;;„;., | 


Fig. 17. Plan of the Castle of Caroassonne. 

A. The onter Gate from the 
Barhioan towards the City. 

B. Outer Gate of the Castle to 
the Country. 

C. The Bridge across the Moat. 

D. The outer Barhican. 

EE'. Passage from the outer 
Barhican to the Castle. 

F. Parapet to protect the Gate. O. Principal Gate. 

G. Second Gate. P & Q. Barracks. 

H. Third Gate. B R. The Keep Towers. 

I. Postern of the Castle. S. Great Square Watch-tower. 

K. Passage. T. Guard-house. 

L. Principal Courtyard. V. The North Gate. 

M. Small Courtyard. X Y. Towers. 

N N N. The Porticoes. Z. Tower Wall. 



rig. 18. 


For the ordinary garrison, quarters were provided in 
buildings of three stories, Q, P, situate beside the Aude. 
Over the portico, N', south side, was a vast salle d'armes, 
with pierced loop-holes on the side of the moat, and 
with windows opening upon the courtyards. EE were 
the keeps, the greatest of these being separated from 
the neighbouring buildings by an open space, and only 
communicating with these latter by means of wooden 
bridges, easily removed. Thus, the castle being taken, 
those of the garrison who were left could still find a re- 
fuge within this enormous tower, which was completely 
closed, and hold out for a time. At S is an immense 
watch-tower which overlooks the entire town and its 
environs ; a wooden staircase was all that it contained. 
The towers, X, Y, the gate, 0, and the intermediate 
curtain-walls are of the twelfth century, as likewise the 
watch-tower, and the basement of the buildings on the 
side of the barbican. These structures were completed 
and restored under Saint Louis. The great barbican of 
the Aude had two heights of loop-holes and an upper 
embattled parapet-walk, which could be furnished with 

We give (fig. 18) a bird's-eye view of this castle and its 
barbican, which, taken with the plan (fig. 17), will complete 
the description we have just given of it ; it will be easy 
to mark out the position of each portion of the defences. 
We have supposed the fortifications as in a complete 
state of defence, and provided with aU their war acces- 
sories, of wooden defences, brattishes, hoarding, and ad- 
vanced palisades. 

But it is requisite, before proceeding further, to ex- 
plain fully what these hourds, hoarding, or hoards, were, 
and the motives which led to their adoption, from the 
twelfth century downwards. 


The danger of defences of wood on tlie ground-level 
had been discovered ; the assailant could easily destroy 
them by fire ; and as early as the time of Saint Louis, 
the -wooden Hsts and barbicans, so frequently employed 
in the preceding century, were replaced by external 
walls (enceintes) and by barbicans built of masonry. 
They did not, however, entirely abandon the use of 
timber defences, but took care they should be placed at 
such a height as would render their destruction, by 
means of incendiary projectiles, difficult at least, if not 
impossible. At that time as now (and the fortifications 
of the city of Carcassonne are there to furnish an ex- 
ample), when good defences were required, care was 
taken to secure everywhere above the ground-plane 
which lay at the foot of the walls and towers a minimum 
of height, in order to place them all equally beyond the 
reach of escalade, along their whole line. This minimum 
height is not the same for the two lines of defence, the 
inner and outer enceintes ; the curtain- walls of the first 
defence are maintained at a height of about thirty-three 
feet from the bottom of the moat, or from the crest of 
the escarpment to the floor of the hoards, whilst the cur- 
tain-walls of the second enceinte are, from the ground- 
level of the lists to the floor of the hoards, forty-seven feet 
at least. The ground which forms a plateau for the two 
enceintes not being horizontal, but presenting, on the 
contrary, very considerable differences of level, the ram- 
parts follow the natural slopes of the ground, and the 
hoards conform to the inclines of the parapet- way. There 
were thus, as we see, at that time certain data, rules, and 
formulae for military architecture, in the same way that 
there were similar rules for religious and civil archi- 
tecture. The remaining portion of this article will fur- 
nish superabundant proofs, we consider, of this fact. 


According to tlie system of battlements and loopholes, 
or eyelets, pierced in stone parapets, it was not possible 
to binder a force of assailants, wben bold and numerous, 
and protected by chats covered with skins or cushions, 
from undermining the foot of the towers or curtain- walls, 
inasmuch as it was impossible from the loopholes, not- 
withstanding the inclination of their sectional line, to 
see the foot of the fortifications ; nor was it possible to 
take aim through the battlements, without at least pro- 
jecting one half of the body beyond the line of wall, at 
any object at the base. It became necessary, therefore, 
to construct projecting galleries, well provided with de- 
fences, and which would allow a large number of the 
besieged to overhang the base of the wall, so as to be 
able to hurl down on an attacking party a perfect hail 
of stones and projectiles of every kind. Let fig. 19 be a 
curtain- wall crowned by a parapet with battlements and 
loopholes, the man placed at A cannot see the pioneer, 
B, except on the condition of advancing his head beyond 
the battlements; but in that case he completely un- 
covers himself, and whenever pioneers were sent forward 
to the foot of a wall, care was taken to protect them 
whilst at work by discharging showers of arrows and 
cross-bolts wherever the besieged were visible. In time 
of siege, from the date of the twelfth century'', the 
parapets were provided with hoards, C, in order to com- 
mand completely the base of the walls by means of a 
continuous machicolation, D. Not only did the hoards 
perfectly accomplish this object, but they left the de- 
fenders entirely free in their movements, as the bringing 

^ The castle of the city of Carcassonne is of the commencement of the twelfth 
century, and all its towers and curtain-walls were well supplied with hoards, which 
must have been of great projection, from the precautions taken to prevent the 
sagging {bascule) of the timbers of the floor. 



up the supplies of projectiles and the circulation was 
carried on behind the parapet at E. Further, when 

Fig. 19. A Curtain-'waU witli Battlement and. Loopliolea ; and the Wood-work, 
shewing one mode of attack and defence. 

A. A Guard. B. A Pioneer. C. The Hoardinff. D. The Machicouha. 

£. The Platform, for a Passage inside the Parapet. 

these hoards were constructed, besides the continuous 
machicolation^ with loopholes, the archeres, or arrow- 


slits, formed in the masonry remained uncovered at their 
lower extremity, and allowed the archers and crossbow- 
men, who were posted within the parapet, to fire upon 
the assailants. With such a system the defence was as 
active as possible, and nothing but the lack of projectiles 
could afi'ord any respite to the besiegers. We must not 
therefore feel surprise if, during some memorable sieges, 
after a prolonged defence, the besieged were reduced to 
the necessity of tearing the roofs from their houses, de- 
molishing the walls of their gardens, and taking up the 
pavement of the streets, in order to keep the hoards 
supplied with projectiles, and thus force the assailants 
back from the foot of the fortifications. These hoards 
were readily and easily placed in position ; in times of 
peace they were removed. We subjoin the representa- 
tion (fig. 20) of the works of approach of a curtain-wall 
flanked by towers and with wet moat, in order to render 
intelligible the several means of defence and attack to 
which we have alluded. In the foreground is a cat, A ; 
this is used to fill up the moat, and advances towards the 
foot of the wall upon the heaps of fascines and materials 
of every kind which the assailants are constantly en- 
gaged in flinging before them, through an opening in 
front of the cat; a wooden boardiug which is fixed as 
the cat advances allows of its being moved along without 
any risk of its sticking fast in the mud. This engine is 
propelled either by rollers in the inside worked by levers, 
or by cords and fixed pulleys, B. In addition to the 
shed which is placed in front of the cat, palisades and 
moveable mantelets protect the labourers. The cat is 
covered with raw hides, in order to preserve it from the 
inflammable materials which may be launched by the 
besieged. The assailants, before sending the cat forward 
against the curtain-wall for the purpose of undermining 


Fig. 20 


A. The Cat. B. The Pulley. c. The Catapult. 

D. The Cro3sbow-men. E. The Wooden Tower and Drawbridge. 


its base, have destroyed the hoards of this curtain-wall 
by means of projectiles, thrown by their slinging ma- 
chines. Further on, at C, is a great catapult; it is 
directed against the hoards of the second curtain. This 
engine is ready strung ; a man places the sling with its 
stone in position. A lofty palisade protects the engine. 
Close by are crossbow-men behind rolling mantelets, who 
take aim at any of the besiegers who leave their cover. 
Beyond these, at E, is a turret furnished with its move- 
able bridge, covered with hides : it advances upon a pre- 
pared floor, the boards of which are laid down accord- 
ing as the assailants, protected by palisades, fill up the 
moat; it is moved, like the cat, by ropes and fixed 
pulleys. Still further is a battery of two catapults, which 
are hurling barrels filled with incendiary material against 
the hoards of the curtain-walls. Within the town, upon 
a great square tower terminating in a platform at the 
summit, the besieged have fixed a catapult which is 
directed against the turret of the assailants. Behind 
the walls another catapult, covered by the curtains, hurls 
projectiles against the engines of the assailants. So long 
as the machines of the enemy have not arrived at the 
foot of the walls, the part played by the besieged is 
almost passive ; they content themselves with launching 
through the loop-holes of their hoards as many arrows 
and bolts as they can. If they are bold and numerous, 
they may attempt in the night to fire the turret, the 
palisades, and machines, by issuing from some postern 
at a distance from the point of attack ; but if timid or 
demoralised, if they have no bold and devoted band 
amongst their ranks, at day-break their moat will be 
filled, the floor of planks slightly inclined towards the 
walls will allow the turret to advance rapidly by its own 
weight, and the assailants will have but to maintain it 
in its place. Upon the fragments of the hoards crushed 

Fii. 21 





by the stones hurled from the catapults, the moveable 
bridge of the turret will suddenly descend, and a nume- 
rous troop of knights and picked soldiers will precipitate 
themselves upon the parapet- way of the curtain (fig. 21). 

But this catastrophe is fore- 
seen: if the garrison be 
faithful, abandoning the 
taken curtain, they will 
shut themselves up in the 
towers which are placed at 
intervals along it (fig. 22 ') ; 
there they can rally, enfilade 
the parapet-walk and cover 
it with projectiles, and, 
through the two gates, A 
and B, make a sudden sortie 
while the assailants are en- 
deavouring to descend into 
the city ; and before they have 
become too numerous, drive 
them back, seize upon the 
turret, and set it on fire. If 
the garrison, driven back, are 
/■rs/jio sc incapable of so bold a stroke, 

Fii. s2. Plan of one Ba7 of the Curtain- thev barricado themselvcs in 

wall, and two £aetiona or Towers, ** 

Carcassonne. .j-j^g towors, aud the assall- 

A&B. Doors from the Bastions to the Alure .n i i • 

over the Wall. auts wiU havc to bcsiege 

each of them in turn ; for, where need is, every tower can 
be turned into a small independent fort, and many of them 
are provided with wells, ovens, and cellarage for storing 

" The example here given is talien from the interior enceinte of the city of Car- 
oassonnej in that part built by Philip the Bold. The plan of the towers is taken 
at the level of the curtain j and is that of those known as the Dar£ja and Saint 
Laurence towers, south side. 



and cooking provisions. The gateways by which, the 
towers communicate with the parapet-walk are narrow, 
iron-plated, closed on the inside, and strengthened by 
wooden bars let into the thickness of the wall, in such a 
way that in a moment the door 
can be drawn to and rapidly 
barricaded by inserting the 
wooden bar. 

We are struck, when we study 
the system of defence adopted 
from the twelfth to the six- 
teenth century, with the care 
taken to guard against surprise ; 
all kinds of precautions are taken 
to arrest the progress of the 

enemy and to embarrass him at j t.wrX 

every step by complicated ar- m^ 23. woodenDooTofaBaBtion. 
rangements in the plan, and by turns and checks which 
it was impossible he could foresee. It is evident that a 
siege, before the invention of cannon, was never really 
serious, either for the besieged or the assailants, except 
when it became a hand-to-hand contest. A veteran 
garrison could still struggle on, and with some chance 
of success, until driven to their last defences. The 
enemy might enter the town by an escalade, or by a 
breach, without the garrisons being on that account 
forced to surrender; when this occurred, shut up in 
their towers, which, we repeat, were so many separate 
forts, they could make a long resistance, exhaust the 
strength of the enemy, and cause him heavy losses in 
every partial attack; for many a well-barricaded door- 
way had to be broken in, and many a stout conflict to 
be sustained, hand-to-hand, within spaces circumscribed 
and encumbered. Should the ground-floor of a tower 



happen to be taken, the upper stories had still powerful 
means of defence. We see that everything was calcu- 
lated beforehand for disputing the ground foot by foot. 
The spiral staircases which gave access to the various 
stories of the towers were easily and promptly barri- 
caded, in such a way as to render hopeless all efforts of 
the assailants to ascend from one story to another. Even 
if it happened that the burghers of a city wished to 
capitulate, the garrison might still hold out against 
them, and debar them from all access to the towers and 
curtains. It was a system of universal suspicion. 

It is in all these details of foot-by-foot defence that 
the art of fortification, as pursued from the eleventh to 
the sixteenth century, appears in its best aspect. It is 
by carefully examining every trace that remains of the 
defensive obstacles of these times that we are enabled 
to understand those narratives of gigantic attacks, which 
we are too frequently disposed to tax with exaggeration. 
"Whilst attentively considering these means of defence, 
so ably thought over and combined beforehand, we can 
easily figure to ourselves the immense labours of the 
besiegers, their moveable turrets, their contravallations, 
their boulevards, their bastilles, and all the various 
means of attack which were brought into play against a 
beleaguered enemy, who himself had calculated every 
chance of assault, who frequently acted on the offensive, 
and who was never disposed to yield a foot of ground, 
unless he could retire to another position stronger than 
the one he quitted. 

At the present day, thanks to our artillery, a general 
who invests a fortified place which is not supported by 
an army in the field, can foretel the day and the hour 
when that place will fall. He can tell beforehand the 
moment when his breach will be practicable, or when 


his columns of attack will enter a given work. It is a 
game which takes more or less time in the playing, but 
which the besieging party are always certain to win, if 
there be no lack of ammunition, if they have an army at 
their disposal proportioned to the force of the garrison, 
and skilful engineers. "Place attaquee, place prise" (a 
place attacked is a place taken), says the French proverb"^. 
But at that time nobody could tell when or how a forti- 
fied place would fall into the hands of the besiegers, how 
numerous soever they might be. "With a determined 
garrison and plenty of provisions, a siege might be pro- 
longed indefinitely : nor was it rare to see a bicoque re- 
sisting during many months a numerous and veteran 
army. Hence arose, frequently, that boldness and inso- 
lence of the weak towards the powerful; that habit of 
individual resistance which constitutes the ground- work 
of the character of feudalism ; that energy which gave 
birth to such mighty things in the midst of so many 
abuses, which enabled the French and Anglo-Norman 
peoples to recover themselves after terrible reverses, and 
to found enduring nationalities ; and by means of which 
they ever discovered unknown resources when their for- 
tunes seemed at the lowest ebb. 

' Like many others, this proverh is not altogether true, however, and many 
examples occur to gainsay its accuracy. It is certain that, even at the present day, 
a place defended by a commander of ingenuity and skill, one whose coup-d'ceil is 
rapid and accurate, may hold out much longer than one which is defended by a 
man of routine whose intelligence cannot fnrnish fresh resources at every phase of 
the attack. It may be found, perhaps, that since siege warfare has become a 
science, and a kind of formula, as it were, we have been led to make too light of all 
those resources of detail which were still in use down to the sixteenth century. 
We cannot doubt but that the study of archseology, which has had so great an 
influence over the other branches of architecture, will exert its action upon 
military architecture likewise ; for in our opinion (and it is one shared by compe- 
tent authorities), although there may be nothing in the/oj-m of the fortification of 
the middle ages of which use might be made at the present day, owing to the 
powerful agency of artillery, the same is not true of its spirit, or of its principles. 


Nothing is better adapted to bring into strong relief 
the profound differences whicli separate the cbaracters of 
tbe men of those remote ages from the spirit of our own 
time, than to institute a comparison between a fortified 
city or castle of the thirteenth or fourteenth century and 
a modern fortress. In this latter there is nothing to 
strike the eye, everything wears an uniform appearance, 
and one bastion so closely resembles another that it is 
hard to recognise any one individually. An army ad- 
vances against a city and takes it, yet the besiegers have 
scarcely seen the besieged; for weeks and weeks they 
have seen nothing before them save some heaps of earth 
and a little smoke. The breach is made and the place 
capitulates; everything falls the same day; a piece of 
wall has been thrown down, a little earth dislodged, and 
the city, the bastions, which have not seen even the 
smoke of the guns, magazines, arsenals, everything is 
given up. Humanity, considered in its material aspect, 
is a gainer; for the immediate disasters, the fury and 
the excesses which follow in the wake of a successful 
assault, are avoided : but the sentiment of responsibility 
and of individual resistance is lost, the energy of national 
character is enfeebled. Some hundreds of years ago 
things were differently managed. If a garrison were 
faithful, and good soldiers, it was necessary, so to speak, 
to force every tower to capitulate, to treat with every 
captain who was minded to defend, foot by foot, the post 
which had been confided to him. Everything, at least, 
was arranged with a view to this result. People accus- 
tomed themselves to rely only on their own powers and 
that of those about them, and they defended themselves 
against all comers. In this way (for we may deduce the 
greater from the less) it was not in those days enough 
to take the capital of a country for the country to be 



yours. Times of barbarism they may have been, but it 
was a barbarism full of energy and resources. The study 
of these great military monuments of the middle ages is, 
therefore, not curious only, it gives us an insight into 
habits of thought and action to which our national cha- 
racter might do well to return. 

We behold at the beginning of the thirteenth century 
the^ inhabitants of Toulouse, with some great lords and 
their knights, in a badly enclosed city holding in check 
the army of the powerful Count de Montfort, and forcing 
him to raise the siege. But it was not the cities alone 
which thus acted; the great vassals, shut up in their 
castles, were at all times ready to resist, not only their 
rivals, but even their suzerain and his armies. 

" The distinctive, the general character of feudalism," says 
M. Guizot, " is the dismemberment of the people and power into 
a multitude of little peoples and small sovereigns ; the absence 

of any general nation, or any central government Under 

what enemies did feudalism fall? Who struggled against it 
in France? Two forces: royalty on the one hand, the com- 
munes on the other. By means of royalty a central govern- 
ment came to be established in France; by the commimes a 
general nation was formed, which in time grouped itself round 
the central government '." 

The development of the feudal system is, therefore, 
limited to the period between the tenth and fourteenth 
centuries. It was then that feudalism erected its most 
important fortresses ; that it completed, during the 
struggles of baron against baron, the military education 
of the nations of the West. 

" With the fourteenth century," adds the illustrious historian, 
" wars change their character. Then begins the series of foreign 
wars ; no longer wars of vassal against suzeraia or of vassal 

' Hist, of Civilization in France, by M. Guizot, 2ud part, 1st lesson. 


against vassal, but of one people ■with another, of sovereign 
against sovereign. At the accession of Philip de Valois, the great 
wars of the French against the English break out ; the claims 
of the kings of England, not upon this or that fief, but upon 
the country and the throne of Prance, are put forward; and 
these wars last until the time of Louis XI. It is therefore no 
longer feudal wars which are in question, but national wars ; a 
certain proof that the feudal epoch stops at these limits, and 
that another social state has already begun." 

But witliOTit feudalism, witliout the trials to -wHcli the 
nation had been subjected under its sway, and which 
were imposed by its very nature, could France have 
struggled during more than a century with her enemies 
from the other side of the channel, have waged battle 
at one and the same time against both foreign and 
domestic enemies, have preserved her national character, 
and been as strongly constituted the day after as the 
day before the contest? However barbarous and op- 
pressive the feudal system may now appear, we consider 
it entitled to this tribute. To it we owe our best activity 
and strength ; and the very men who, at the close of the 
last century, overthrew its last vestiges, would not have 
found in the country the energy which is its traditional 
characteristic, had the nation not been brought up in 
this hard school. It may be as well to bear this in 

The feudal castle is invested with its true defensive 
character only when it is isolated, at a distance from 
great, wealthy, and populous cities, and when it over- 
awes some little town, village, or hamlet. It then 
takes every advantage of the configuration of the country, 
and surrounds itself with precipices, moats, and water- 
courses. When it forms a part of the city, it becomes 
its citadel, and is obliged to keep its defences subordinate 
to those of the city walls, to place itself at some point 


from ■wMcli it can remain master of the parts beyond its 
■walls and within them. In order to convey our meaning 
in a few words, we may say, that the true feudal castle, 
viewed with reference to the art of fortification, is that 
which, having itself fixed upon its site, sees by degrees 
the habitations of the people gradually come and group 
themselves around it. Far other is the castle whose con- 
struction, being of later date than that of the town, has 
found itself obliged to make its site and arrangements de- 
pendent upon the situation and the defensive arrange- 
ments of the city. At Paris, the louvre of Philip- Augustus 
was evidently constructed in accordance with the latter 
conditions. Until the reign of that prince, the kings of 
France inhabited ordinarily the palace which was situate 
in the city. But when the city of Paris had assumed a 
considerable development on both banks of the river, 
this central residence could no longer be a suitable one 
for the sovereign, whUst as a defence it had become 
quite useless. Philip- Augustus, in building the louvre, 
planted a citadel at the point of the city where he had 
most to fear from attack, and where his formidable rival, 
Eichard, was most likely to present himself; he kept 
guard over both banks of the Seine above the city, and 
commanded the marshes and the fields which, from this 
point, at that time extended to the slopes of Chaillot and 
as far as Meudon. When he enclosed the town by walls, 
he took care to leave his new castle, his citadel, outside 
of their limits, in order thereby to preserve its liberty of 
defence. We see in the plan of Paris (fig. 24), as we 
have already observed, that besides the louvre. A, other 
fortified establishments are scattered around the walls ; 
H is the Chateau du Bois, surrounded by gardens, a 
pleasure residence of the king's. At L is the hotel of 
the dukes of Brittany. At the palace of King Robert, 



and the monastery of Saint Martin-of-the-Fields, sur- 
rounded by a fortified enceinte. At B the temple, form- 
ing a separate citadel, with its walls and keep. At G 

Fi^.S4. Plan of Paris in the Thirteenth. Century. 

A. The Louvre. 

B. The Temple. 

C. Palace of King Robert. 

D. The Law Courts. 

E. Notre Dame. 

F. Saint Genevieve. 

G. Hotel de Vauvert, 
H. Chateau du Bois. 
1. House of S. Lazare. 
K. The Infirmary. 

L. Palace of the Duke of 

M & N. The Markets. 
O. The Grand-Chatelet. 
P. The Petit-Chatelet. 

the Hotel de Yauvert, built by King Eobert, likewise 
surrounded by an enceinte '. 

' At I was the house of Saint-Lazare j at K the infirmary ; at M and N the 
markets; at O the grand-chatelet, which guarded the entrance to the city from 
the north, and at P the petit-chdtelet, which defended the Petit-Pont, on the 
south; at E N<5tre Dame and the bishop's palace; at D the ancient courts of law; 
at P Sainte-Genevifeve and the palace of Clovis, on the mountain. — {Descript, de 
Fans, par N. de FerS, 1724.) 



At a later period, during the imprisonment of King 
John, it was found necessary to extend the city walls. The 
city growing larger and larger, especially on the side of the 
right bank (fig. 25), the Louvre and the Temple became 

Fi|. 35. Plan of Paris in the Fourteenth Century. 

A to P. The same as in the Thirteenth Century, (see opposite) . R. Palais des TourncUes. 
S. Bastille of S. Antoine. 

enclosed within the new walls ; but gates of good defence, 
and provided with barbicans, served the purpose of de- 
tached forts, and on the eastern side Charles V. had the 
bastille of Saint Antoine, S, erected, which commanded 
the faubourgs, and served as a support to the enceinte. 
The Palais des Tournelles, E, gave further strength to 
this portion of the city ; and moreover, the Temple and the 



Louvre, which, preserved their fortified walls of enclosure, 
formed, in conjunction with the Bastille, so many internal 
citadels. We have already mentioned that the system 
of fortification adopted in the middle ages was not 
adapted to extended lines of defence ; its force became 
impaired when the circumference of these became too 
great, unless they were accompanied by those advanced 
fortresses which divided the forces of the besiegers and 
impeded the advance of an enemy. "We have seen in 
the case of Carcassonne (fig. 16) a town of small di- 
mensions well defended by art and by the nature of the 
ground; but the castle there forms a portion of the city, 
is no more than its citadel, and has none of the charac- 
teristics of a feudal castle ; while at Coucy, for example 
(flg.26), although the castle 
is annexed to the town, it 

is completely independent 
of it, and preserves its cha- 
racter of a feudal castle. 
Here the town, built at C, 
is surrounded by an enceinte 
of considerable strength ; 
between it and the castle, 
B, lies an esplanade or kind 
of place d^armes, A, com- 
municating with the town 
only by the gate, E, with 
defences on both sides, but 
more especially against the 
town. The castle, built on 

FiJ. 26. Castle of Coucy. 

A. Place d'Armcs. B. The Castle. 

C. The Town. D. The Moat. 

E. The Gate from the To-wn to the Castle. 

the crest of the hill, looks down over very steep escarp- 
ments and is separated from the place d'armes by a large 
moat, D. If the town were taken, the place d'armes, and, 
behind it, the castle, served as secure places of refuge 


for the garrison. It was in the space, A, that the 
stables, household offices, and barracks of the garrison 
were placed, so long as they were not obliged to retire 
within the lines of the castle ; sally-ports in the curtain 
of the place d'armes allowed of their making sorties, or 
of receiving assistance from without if the enemy held 
the city and was not in force sufficient to invest it and 
blockade the castle. Several towns offered dispositions 
of defence analogous to those here described: — Guise, 
Chateau-Thierry, Chatillon-sur-Seine, Falaise, Meulan, 
Dieppe, Saumur, Bourbon-l'Archambaut, Montfort- 
I'Amaury, Montargis, Boussac, Orange, Hyeres, Loches, 
Chauvigny in Poitou, &c. In this latter city, three 
castles commanded the town at the close of the four- 
teenth century, all three built upon a neighbouring hill, 
and all three independent of each other. Those cities 
in which the defences were thus divided were considered, 
and justly, as of great strength ; frequently hostile ar- 
mies, after having taken possession of the town forti- 
fications, were obliged to relinquish attempting to lay 
siege to the castle; and following up their conquests 
in other directions, left garrisons behind them intact, 
who, when their backs were turned, retook the town 
and fell upon their rear. Had feudalism been only 
united, it is certain that no system was so well cal- 
culated to arrest the progress of an invasion as this 
subdivision of the defence; and herein lies the expla- 
nation of the incredible facility with which provincial 
conquests were then lost ; for it was not possible at that 
time, as it is now, to secure the results of a campaign by 
the centralisation of the military power and by an abso- 
lute discipline. If the conquered country was divided 
into a number of lordships or baronies, which defended 
themselves each on its own account, much more than to 


keep the oath, of fealty sworn to the suzerain ; so the 
armies were composed of vassals, who were bound to 
give forty, or sixty, days' service, as the case might be, 
in the field, and no more; after which term every one 
might return to his home ; and this must be, so long as 
the suzerain could not have his soldiery on hire. In 
this respect, from the date of the close of the thirteenth 
century, the English monarchy had acquired a great 
superiority over that of the French. The Anglo-Norman 
feudalism formed a better consolidated mass than the 
feudalism of Erance; it had proved this by forcing a 
reluctant king to grant them their Magna Charta ; and 
as a consequence of this agreement, they were more 
intimately bound to their suzerain. Their form of go- 
vernment, comparatively liberal, had led the English 
aristocracy to introduce into their armies troops of foot- 
soldiers taken from the towns, who were already well 
disciplined, skilled in the use of the bow, and who 
decided the fate of the day in nearly all the disastrous ^ 
battles of the fourteenth century, Crecy, Poitiers, &c. 
The same feeling of distrust which made the French 
feudal lord isolate his castle from the town placed under 
his protection, would not allow him to give arms into the 
hands of the burghers, or to familiarize them with mili- 
tary exercises ; he put his trust in his own men, in the 
goodness of his horse and of his coat of mail, and, more 
than all, in his own personal courage ; and held in dis- 
dain the foot-soldier (fantassin) whom he brought into 
the field only to swell his numbers, not reckoning him 
of any account at the moment of action. This feeling, 
which was so fatal to France at the period of her wars 
with England, and to which may be attributed the loss of 
many a pitched battle in the course of the fourteenth 

6 Disastrous, that is to say, /or the French. — Tbanslatob. 


century, in spite of the incontestable superiority of the 
feudal horsemen (^gendarmerie) of that country, was essen- 
tially favourable to the development of military architec- 
ture ; and, in point of fact, there is no country of "Western 
Europe where one meets with more numerous, more com- 
plete, or finer feudal fortifications, of the date of the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, than in Prance ^. It 
is in the feudal castles, above all other places, that we 
must study the military dispositions of those times : for 
in these they are developed with a profusion of precau- 
tions and an abundance of means alike extraordinary. 

We have already alluded to the distinction to be 
drawn between these castles serving as refuges, or as 
citadels to the garrisons of towns, and the isolated castles 
which commanded some village, hamlet, or small open 
town, with which they were only connected by inter- 
mediate works. These latter castles were of several 
kinds : there was the simple keep or donjon, surrounded 
by a fortified wall, with quarters for soldiers attached; 
and there was the castle, which occupied a vast space, 
closed in by strong walls, and containing detached forts 

'' The number of castles which covered the soil of France, more especially on the 
frontiers of provinces, is incalculable. There was not a village, hovrgade, or small 
town, which did not possess at least one, without reckoning the isolated castles, 
military posts, and towers which at short intervals dotted the courses of rivers, the 
valleys which were used as passes, and the ma/rches. From the earliest period of 
the feudal organization, the seigneurs, the cities, the bishops, and the abbots had to 
recur on many an occasion to the sovereign authority of the kings of France in 
order to prohibit the erection of new castles which might be likely to prejudice 
their interests and " those of the country." (Les Olim.) On the other hand, the 
king of France, in spite of the resistance of his vassals, authorized by act of par- 
liament the erection of fortresses, in order thereby to lessen the power of his great 
vassals. "Ctim abbas et conventus Daloneusis associassent dominum regem ad 
quemdam locum qui dicitur Tauriacus, pro quadam bastlda ibidem construenda, et 
dominus Garnerius de Castro-Novo, miles, et vicecomes Turenue se opponerent, et 
dicerunt dictam bastidam absque eorum prejudicio non posse fieri. Auditis eorum 
contradicionibus et racionibus, pronunciatum fuit quod dicta bastida ibidem fleret 
et remaueret." (Les Olim, edit, of the Ministry of Public Instruction, Philip III., 
1279, vol. ii. p. 147.) 


and one or more donjons. Placed on the high-road, or 
on the bank of some river, castles of this importance 
could intercept all communications ; they formed so 
many strong places, vast in dimension and of great im- 
portance, considered from a military point of view; re- 
quiring for their blockade a numerous army, for their 
subjection a considerable siege train and much time. 
The Chateau-Gaillard, in the Andelys, was of this num- 
ber. Built by Eichard Coeur-de-Lion, after this prince 
had discovered the error he had committed in leaving to 
Philip Augustus, by the treaty of Issoudun, the Vexin 
territory and the town of Gisors, this castle still pre- 
serves, in spite of the state of ruin into which it has 
fallen, the impress of the military genius of the great 
Anglo-Norman king. Eichard, although a bad politician, 
was a consummate warrior ; and it was characteristic of 
his nature to repair his shortcomings as a statesman by 
dint of courage and perseverance. In our opinion, the 
Chateau-Gaillard des Andelys reveals one portion of the 
talents of Eichard. There is too general a disposition to 
believe that this illustrious prince was nothing more than 
a fighter, brave to rashness ; but it is not merely by pos- 
sessing the qualities of a good soldier, however fearless 
or intrepid, that a monarch acquires so large a place in 
history. To the men of his time, Eichard was a hero 
whose valour shone conspicuous in a valiant age ; but he 
was also an able captain, an engineer full of resources, 
experienced ; a master in the practice of his art, capable 
of things in advance of his age, and who never allowed 
himself to be the slave of routine. Thanks to the excel- 
lent work of M. A. Deville on the Chateau-Gaillard', 
everybody can form an exact estimate of the circum- 

Sist. du Chateau- Qaillard et du siege qu'il soutint contre Philippe- Aiiguste, en 
1203 et 1204 (Hist, of the Chateau-Gaillard and of tlie siege it sustained against 
Philip Augustus in 1203 and 1204), by A. DevUle, Rouen, 1849. 


stances which regulated the construction of this fortress, 
the key of Normandy, and a frontier place capable of 
arresting the invasions of the French king for a con- 
siderable space of time. The right bank of the Seine 
being then in the possession of Philip Augustus as far 
as the Andelys, a French army could in a single day be 
conveyed into the very heart of Normandy and menace 
Eouen. Aware too late of this danger, Eichard was 
anxious to place his continental province beyond its 
reach. With the sure coup d'oeil which belongs to men 
of genius, he chose the site of the fortress intended to 
cover the Norman capital, and having once decided upon 
his plans, he followed out their execution with a tenacity 
and force of will which bore down every obstacle opposed 
to his undertaking ; so that, in one year, not only was 
the fortress built, but a complete system, likewise, of 
defensive works was thrown up, with rare talent, along 
the banks of the Seine, to the point at which that river 
covers Eouen. It is rare to find at this period the breadth 
of view in military dispositions which marks the great 
soldier ; and here it is not merely the isolated defence of 
a detached post that is in question, but that of the fron- 
tiers of a great province. From Bonnieres to GaUlon, 
the Seine flows almost in a straight line towards the 
north-north-west. Near to Gaillon, it makes a sudden 
bend towards the north-east, as far as Les Andelys; 
then turns back upon itself and forms a peninsula which, 
at its neck, is no more than two thousand six hun- 
dred metres (about If miles) across. The French, by the 
treaty which followed the conference at Issoudun, pos- 
sessed, on the left bank, Vernon, Gaillon, Pacy-sur-Eure ; 
and on the right, Gisors, which was one of the strong- 
holds of this part of France. An army composed of 
corps collected at Evreux, Vernon, and Gisors, and 


Fig- 87. Plan of the Cliateau-Gaillard and its Environs. (See opposite.) 


thence simultaneously marched upon Rouen, while a 
flotilla followed in their rear, would be able in two 
days to invest the place, and have everything they 
required brought down by the river. By placing a for- 
tress so as to span the river between these two places, 
Vernon and Gisors, and in such a way as to command the 
navigation, he prevented the junction of the two corps 
of invasion, rendered their communication with Paris im- 
possible, and placed them in the awkward predicament 
of being separately defeated under the walls of Eouen. 
The position, therefore, was perfectly well chosen. The 
peninsula which was situate opposite Les Andelys, easily 
defended across the neck, supported by a fortified place 
of great strength on the other side of the river, offered 
every facility for the establishment of a camp which it 
would be vain to think of forcing. The city of Eouen 
was covered; nor could the French armies advance 
against this place without feeling very serious appre- 
hensions respecting the military position they were plac- 
ing between themselves and France, This short descrip- 
tion will serve to shew that Eichard was something 
more and better than a captain full of headlong courage. 
The manner in which the Anglo-Norman king arranged 
the plan of his defences, for this strategical position, was 
as follows, (fig. 27). At the extremity of the peninsula, 
A, on the side of the right bank, the Seine fiows round 
steep sloping cliffs of great height, which overlook the 
whole peninsula. On the little island, B, which stands 
in the centre of the river, Eichard erected, firstly, a 
strong octagonal work with towers, ditches, and palisades 

A. Head of the Peninsula. D. The Lake. K, L. Rampart of Cireum- 

B. A small Island. E. The Grand-Andely. Tallation. 

C. The T6te-du-pont, or Petit- P. The Stockade. R. The Plateau. 
Andely. H. The Port, or Boutavant. 



complete ^ ; a wooden bridge passing throngli this fort- 
alice connected the two banks. At the extremity of 
this bridge, at C, upon the right bank, he built an 
enceinte, or wide tete-du-pont^ which was soon filled with 
habitations, and took the name of Petit- Andely. A lake 
formed by the retention of the waters of the two streams, 
at D, completely isolated this tete-du-pont. The Grand- 
Andely, E, was likewise fortified and surrounded by 
ditches, which still exist. Upon a promontory of chalk 
cliff, which rises to a height of more than a hundred 
yards above the level of the Seine, was planted the 
principal fortress, advantage being taken of every pro- 
jection of the rock : towards the south, a tongue of land 
of no more than a few yards in width served to link this 
promontory to the surrounding hills. At the base of the 
escarpment, and enfiladed by the castle, a stockade, F, 
composed of three rows of piles, was placed across the 
course of the Seine. This stockade was further protected 
by palisadoed works erected along the side of the right 
bank, and by a wall descending from a tower, built half- 
way up the hill : in addition, a fort was built, at H, on 
the banks of the Seine, and took the name of Boutavant. 
The peninsula being thus made secure, it was impossible 
for an army to find an encampment upon ground cut up 
with ravines and covered with enormous rocks. The 
small valley lying between the two Andelys, filled by 
the waters of the stream and commanded by the fortifi- 
cations of the two lourgs, could not be occupied. The 
single attackable point of the fortress was the tongue of 
land which connected it with the hills on the south. We 
will now describe how Eichard, who himself presided 
over the erection of this fortress, and never left the 

1 The lower portions of this work are still in existence. 




Fig 28. Ground-plan of the Chateau-G-aillard. 

A. High Angle Tower. I. The Moat. 

B B. Smaller Side Towers. K. Entrance Gate. 

C C, D D. Corner Towers. L. The Counterscarp. 

E. Outer Enceinte, or Lower M. The Keep. 
Court. N. The Escarpment. 

F. The Well. O. Postern Tower. 

G. H. Buildings in the Lower P. Postern Gate. 

BE. Parapet Walls. 

S. Gate from the Escarpment. 

TT. Flanking Towers. 

V. Outer Tower. 

X. Connecting Wall. 

Y. The Stockade in the Kiyer. 

ZZ. The Great Ditches. 


■workmen, hastening on their labours by his personal di- 
rection, established his defences, (fig. 28). At A, oppo- 
site the tongue of land which united the site of the 
castle with the neighbouring height, he had a deep ditch 
dug in the rock and built a strong and lofty tower, the 
parapets of which attained to the level of the topmost 
plateau, and commanded the summit of the hill. This 
tower was flanked by two others at B B ; the curtain- 
walls, A D, spread out from A and followed the natural 
slope of the rock ; the tower, A, commanded the whole 
advanced work, ADD. A second ditch, also excavated 
in the rock, separates this out-work from the body of 
the place. The two towers, C 0, commanded probably 
the towers D D ''. The first (or outer) enceinte of the 
castle, E, contained the stables, domestic offices, and the 
chapel ; this formed the lower court A well existed at 
F ; within and beneath the area of the court, vast cellars 
were excavated, supported on piers of solid rock, which 
received their light from the castle-moat, I, and commu- 
nicated, by means of two tunnels bored in the rock, with 
the outside. At K is the entrance-gate of the castle, 
the sill of which is raised more than two yards above the 
counterscarp of the moat, L. In Eichard's days, works 
erected upon a rock which had been left jutting from the 
ditch, covered this entrance; a portcullis, overhanging 
sheds and two small side works, or posts, defended the 
gate, which was further commanded by the defences of 
the donjon, M. Soldiers' quarters were arranged on the 
side of the escarpment, at N, and a strong defence, 0, 
flanked the postern, P, which opened on the parapet- 
walk, E. It is probable that the gate of the first en- 

^ These four towers are now levelled ; the plan only can be distinguished, and 
a few fragments which are still standing. 


ceinte opened at S, above the escarpments '. On the side 
of the river, at T, were towers and flank-works stepped 
along the cliff, in which they were cut, and famished 
with parapets: a tower, V, planted against the cliff, 
and communicating with the body of the place by stairs 
and galleries excavated in the rocks, was connected with 
the wall, X, which acted as a barrier across the foot of 
the escarpment and the river banks, and likewise with 
the stockade of piles intended to intercept the navigation. 
The great ditches, Z, descend to the river-side; these 
were cut in the rock by manual labour. One year had 
sufficed for Richard to finish all these enormous works 
and the whole system of defences which was attached 
to them". "Is she not fair, my daughter of a year?" 
exclaimed the monarch, when he beheld his great under- 
taking finished". At the close of the twelfth century 
the Norman fortifications had nothing in common with 
the forms adopted in the construction of the Chateau- 
Gaillard ; we may therefore safely conclude that Richard 
was alone the author of them, and that he had himself 
planned and marked out certain arrangements of defence 
which denote a profound experience in the military art. 
Had Richard brought back from the East acquirements 
so far in advance of his age ? It is hard to say. Were 
they the last remains of Roman tradition " ? Or rather, 
had this prince, as the result of practical observation, 

' We have left, in line merely, the defences of which only the faintest traces at 
present remain. 

"■ 1196-1197. 

" " Ecce quam pulchra filia unius anni !" Brompton, Hist. Angl. Soriptore^ 
Antigui, col. 1276. 

" Jean de Marmoutier, a monkish chronicler of the twelfth century, relates that 
Geoffrey Plantagenet, the grandfather of Richard Coeur-de-Jiion, when besieging a 
certain fortress, used to study the Treatise of Vegetius. {Sist. du Ch&teau-Qaillard, 
by A. Deville.) 



found in his own genius the ideas of which he then made 
so remarkable an application ? 

If we cast our eyes on the plan(flg. 28), we must be struck 
by the curious configuration of the elliptical enceinte of the 
internal castle ; it consists of a succession of segments of 
a circle, the chords measuring about three yards, which 
are separated from each other by portions of the curtain- 
wall only a yard in length. In plan, each of these seg- 
ments gives the following figure (fig. 29), which forms a 


ch.EMlN-tlE fVOWDE 

Fit 29. Chateau-Gaillaxd— Plan of Segments. 

continuous series of flank-works of great strength com- 
pared with the ofi'ensive engines of that period, as is 
shewn by the dotted lines. In elevation this wall, whose 
base rests upon the hewn rock, presents a formidable 
appearance (fig. 30). There is no opening of any kind 
in the lower portion, the whole of the defences being 
arranged at the summit ^. The donjon is no less interest- 
ing as a study : it consists (fig. 31) of a series of re- 
versed pyramids, with their bases round the summit, 
attached to the fianks of the tower. These pyramids 
must have had, springing from their reversed bases. 

P The walls have now fallen to the level of the point : it is probable that 
hoards or brattishes were attached to the anterior portion of the segments in time 
of siege, as we have shewn at B. But this is mere conjecture. 



"Fig. 30. Chateaa-Gailiard— View ol pjrt of the Wall- O. (See opposite.) 


arches to form a machicolation i for close defence, and 
have supported an embattled parapet for distant defence. 
Dying away upon the lower splay of the tower-wall, 
pyramids so placed offered projections very judiciously 
combined for commanding the base of the donjon, while 
at the same time they consolidated the whole work. 
On the side of the castle this donjon presented a pro- 
jecting angle (see the plan, fig. 28), which increased the 
resisting force of the masonry at the sole point where it 
was possible to have sapped it. 

In all these works no sculpture is to be seen, or 
mouldings of any kind ; everything has been sacrificed 
to the defence : the masonry is good, and composed of a 
rubble of sUex bedded in excellent mortar and revetted • 
(or faced) with carefully executed face-work in small 
courses, here and there having alternate courses of red 
and white stone. 

During the life-time of Eichard, Philip Augustus, not- 
withstanding his well-earned reputation as a taker of 
fortresses, dared not venture to lay siege to Chateau- 
Gaillard; but after the death of this prince, and when 
Normandy had fallen into the hands of John Lack -land, 
the French king resolved to seize on this military position, 
the possession of which would open the gates of Eouen. 
The siege of this place, described to its smallest details 
by the king's chaplain, William the Breton, an eye- 
witness, was one of the greatest feats of arms of this 
prince's reign ; and if Eichard displayed a talent every- 
way remarkable in the strategetical arrangements of the 
place and its dependencies, Philip Augustus carried out 
his enterprise like a consummate master in the art of war. 

1 These crowning members no longer exist: the structure is level with the point 
0. The view we give is taken from the side of the postern of the donjon, on 
the north, which is placed on the first floor. Wo have supposed the building, N, 
as removed, in order to allow the staircase which lud to this postern to be seen. 


Kg- 31. 




Chateau-Gaillard was defended by Eoger de Lacy, 
constable of Chester ; and witb him a great number of 
knights of renown were enclosed in the fortress^ The 
French army invested^ the peninsula of Bernieres (see 
fig. 27), resting their left on this village, their right at 
Toeni. The wooden bridge, which connected the small 
peninsula with the fortalice situate on the Isle of An- 
dely, was immediately destroyed by the Anglo-Normans. 
Philip Augustus caused, first of all (and it was well 
for him he did so), a ditch to be excavated from one 
village to the other, and erected a rampart of circum- 
vallation, K L. In order to be able to bring up the 
necessary boats to form a bridge opposite the Lesser 
Andely for passing to the right bank of the river, he 
had the stockade cut by some bold swimmers, who 
effected a breach in it whilst a false attack was being 
made on the fortalice (chatelet). This breach once 
effected, — 

" The king," says William the Breton, " had conveyed from 
divers ports on the Seine a great quantity of those flat boats 
which serve habitually for the passing over of men, beasts of 
burden, and carts (called bacs), and fastening these together, 
side by side from one bank to the other, he laid upon them a 
good floor of planks. The boats which carried these planks 
were fastened to strong piles driven down here and there in the 
bed of the river, and were armed with turrets at certain in- 
tervals. Four larger boats, M, were attached to the central por- 
tion of the bridge, which bridge rested upon the lower point of 
the Isle of Andely ; and upon these boats two great turrets, 
sheathed with iron, were erected for the purpose of battering 
the fortalice." 

This being done, the French army passed over to the 
right bank and encamped at Y, under the walls of the 
Lesser Andely. Meanwhile, John attempted to relieve 
the place : to this end he despatched an army intended to 


be thrown, during the night, upon the rear of the French 
at the neck of the peninsula, whilst a flotilla starting 
from Eouen was at the same time to attack the bridge 
of boats; but the two attacks were not made simul- 
taneously ; the line of circumvallation arrested the attack 
by land, and gave the French camp time for preparation, 
whilst the flotilla, which arrived too late on the scene 
of action, was driven back with considerable loss. The 
fortalice was soon taken, as likewise the Lesser Andely, 
and occupied by French garrisons. Philip Augustus 
was then in a position to lay siege to Chateau- Gaillard ; 
he pitched his camp on the plateau, E, opposite the 
tongue of land which connects the castle with the moun- 
tain. But winter was drawing near, and the king hoped 
to take the place by famine. Invested on all sides, the 
garrison retired within the triple enceinte of the fortress ; 
lines of contra vallation and of circumvallation, stiU visi- 
ble, were marked out and furnished with seven wooden 
turrets at regular intervals. During the whole of the 
winter of 1203-4 the French army remained within 
the lines. In the month of February, 1204, Philip 
Augustus, who then knew that the garrison were pro- 
vided with provisions sufficient to last them over the 
year, decided on undertaking a siege in form. Opposite 
the angle tower, A (flg. 28), he had the ground of the 
tongue of land, which this tower commanded, levelled, 
and upon the site thus prepared he established covered 
galleries {cats), and a turret which operated against the 
tower ; the ditch was filled, and pioneers were attached 
to the base of the tower. A, above the rocky escarpment ; 
in a short time the tower fell upon its burnt shoring 
timbers, the garrison abandoned the advanced work, and 
the first enceinte of the castle fell into the hands of the 
king by a surprise, which was effected in this wise. Five 


French squires, whose names "William de Breton has 
preserved, obtained an entrance into the building, H, 
through a window but slightly raised above the moat, 
and by their loud shouts, suddenly raised, made the 
garrison believe that a numerous body of troops had 
invaded the first enceinte ; whereupon the besieged 
themselves fired the buildings of the lower court-yard 
and retired into the castle. After incredible eflforts, 
Philip Augustus succeeded in placing in battery, oppo- 
site the gate of the castle, K, a catapult, and in attaching 
his pioneers to the work which defended this gate, by 
advancing a cat upon the position. In a little time the 
gate was shattered and a portion of the masonry fell. 
The French precipitated themselves upon the breach 
with such impetuosity, that the garrison, then reduced 
to one hundred and eighty men, could not force a pas- 
sage to the postern of the donjon, and being surrounded, 
they were obliged to lay down their arms. This hap- 
pened on March 6, 1204. The first operations of the 
attack on the fortalice and the passage of the Seine took 
place in the preceding month of August. It is evident 
that under another prince than John, Chateau-Gaillard 
would have held out much longer; for the besieging 
army, harassed by an enemy from without, would not 
have been able to proceed so methodically and with such 
united action. The journal of this siege places on evi- 
dence a fact which is curious in reference to the history 
of fortification. Chateau-Gaillard, in spite of its situa- 
tion, in spite of the great skill displayed by Eichard in 
the details of its defence, is too restricted in its dimen- 
sions. Already even, for that period, the arrangements 
of defence which were accumulated upon a given point, 
instead of supporting each other, were mutually in- 
jurious; the means of attack, as they became more 



energetic and powerful, called for a more extended line 
of defences. "We shall see presently how, during the 
thirteenth century ,> engineers simplified their fortifica- 
tions and subjected them to methods of more regu- 
larity and of greater breadth. 

The castle of Montargis, the construction of which 
dated from the thirteenth century, and a plan of which 
we subjoin (fig. 32), was likewise a place of sufficient 

rig. 32. Plan of the Castle of Montargis. 

A & B. The Outer Gateways. 

C. The Inner Gateway, 

D. Another Entrance. 

E. The Postern. 
r. The Keep. 

G. The Great Hall. 
H. The Chapel. 
I. The Staircase. 
K. The Gallery. 
LLL. The Barracks. 

M. A Gateway Tower. 
N. A Guard Tower. 
O. The Stables and Offices. 
S S S. The Moats. 

strength to call for a regular siege. It commanded the 
high road from Paris to Orleans which passed through 


the fortified gates, A and B. Moats, S S, surrounded 
the external and internal defences. The road was ex- 
posed to a flank fire from a front flanked by towers, and 
communicated with the castle by means of a gate, C (see 
fig. 61, for a bird's-eye view of this entrance) ; another 
gateway, passing through a massive detached tower, was 
of very difficult access. As for the internal arrange- 
ments of the castle, they are of great interest, and shew 
clearly the means of defence then in the hands of a gar- 
rison. The towers are of great projection beyond the 
line of the curtains, with a view to obtain a good flank 
fire; on the north (a salient point, and weak in con- 
sequence) was erected an important work composed of 
two massive walls, one behind the other, connected by 
other return walls, which latter were fianked by two 
towers of a greater diameter than the others. At G was 
the great hall, two stories high, in which the whole of 
the garrison could be called together to receive orders, 
and from which they could rapidly be directed simulta- 
neously upon every point of the enceinte, by means of a 
staircase of three flights, each in a different direction, I. 
The connection between this staircase and the great 
hall could be cut off, and the great hall be made to serve 
for a place of retreat, if the enceinte were forced. The 
massive donjon, F, several stories in height, with a cir- 
cular tower in the centre, communicated with the great 
hall on the level of the first story, by means of a gallery, 
K, which in the same manner could be isolated at its 
extremity. This donjon commanded the whole of the 
enceinte and the buildings attached. The garrison was 
quartered in the buildings, L, on the side where the 
enceinte was most easily accessible. At were the 
stables, the bakehouse, stores; at H the chapel, and at 
N a poste^ or guard-house, close to the entrance, D. 



The small buildings which surrounded the donjon were 
of a date posterior to its erection. The postern, B, gave 
access to extensive gardens, which were themselves sur- 
rounded by a fortified wall. 

The donjon was to the castle, during the feudal period, 
what the castle was to the town, — its last retreat, the 
last means of resistance : and we find it, therefore, con- 
structed with the utmost care and furnished with every 
means of defence then in use. During the Eomanesque 
period, the donjon is, as a general rule, built upon a 
square plan, and strengthened by buttresses of rect- 
angular or semicircular form, which had the advantage 
of flanking the walls by means of battlements placed at 

Fij. 33. Plan of the Castle of Chauvigny 


their summits, SucTi are the donjons of the castles of 
Langeais, of Loches, of Beaugency-sur-Loire, and of 
Ghauvigny (the plan of which last we append, fig. 33 '), 
of Montrichard, of Domfront, of Nogent-le-Eotrou, of 
Falaise, &o. Their stories were vaulted over, or sepa- 
rated by timber floors resting upon a row of detached 
piers; the windows which gave light to these halls 
were few, and they were frequently furnished with 
chimneys, an oven, and wells on the ground-floor. They 
were so contrived as to be built upon the most elevated 
point of the plateau on which the castle was placed, or 
on mottes^ or mounds, made artificially. A wall of counter- 
guard (or chemise) of some height protected their base, 
and access to the interior could only be obtained by 
means of a narrow postern raised several yards above the 
ground-level, and by means of wooden stairs or flying 
bridges communicating with the parapet of the chemise. 
As early as at this period the elevation of the donjons 
was considerable, being from thirty to fifty yards, in 
order to command not only the exterior defences of the 
castle, but even the parts outside. There exist no longer, 
as far as we know, any donjons built from the tenth to 
the close of the eleventh century the upper defences of 
which have been preserved; and we are therefore not 
able to say whether their battlements were furnished 
with hoards in time of war, or whether they were 
crowned with platforms or with high-pitched roofs. 

However, as in the upper portions of the castle of 
Carcassonne which are preserved, and which date from 
the end of the eleventh or beginning of the twelfth 
century, we have discovered traces perfectly visible of 

' This plan gives the present state of the castle at the height of the first story. 
The erection of this donjon dates from the eleventh century. 



ttese timber hoards, it is highly probable that the square 
towers of the west, north, and centre of France were de- 
fended in a similar manner. Towards the middle of the 
twelfth century the square form was abandoned, in don- 
jons as well as in towers ; because the salient angles of 
towers on a square plan, not being capable of a good 
defence, allowed the besiegers to undermine these angles 
and thus destroy the whole work. . The keep of Etampes 
offers a peculiar arrangement, and one which shews the 
efforts which were made in the twelfth century to make 
these important defences at once feudal residences and 
well-guarded works. We subjoin (fig. 34) the plan of 

Fi|. 34. Plan of the Keep of Btampes. 

the ground-floor of the keep ^ The keep of Provins, 
called Caesar's Tower, built in the twelfth century, is 
still more interesting as a study; it is a complete 
polygonal (octagonal) fort, flanked by four towers en- 
gaged at their base, but which detached themselves from 
the body of the structure in their upper portions and 

This plan is drawn to a scale of ^Jj. 




thus commanded the'ground all round. This work could 
be manned by a great number of defenders, on account 
of the receding plans of its several stories and of the 
flanking position of the turrets. We give (fig. 35) the 

Fig. 35. Ground-plan of the Keep of Provius 

A B. Line of the Section, D. Passage to Tot™ Wail. H. The Chapel. 

fig- 39- r. The Doorway. 1 1. The Posterns. 

C. The Outer Platform. G. The Oven. P. The Masked Well. 

plan of the ground-floor of this donjon ; (fig. 36) the plan 
of the first story ; (fig. 37) the plan of the third story 


^ > 


Fig. 36. Plan of the First Story of the Keep of Provins. 
AB. Line of the Section, D. The Passage. RS. Line of the Elevation, 

fig-. 39. 
C. Outer Platform. 

D. The Passage. 
III. The PoDtems. 
K. The Staircase. 

flg. 38. 

Fig. 37 Plan of Third Story. 

K. Staircase. 

L L L L. The Allure. 

MM MM. Bartizans. 

N N. Steps to Upper Platform. 



and of the first circulating gallery {tour-de-ronde) of de- 
fence; (fig. 38) the elevation of the western side, and 
(fig. 39) the section on the line AB', The platform, C 
(fig. 35), which surrounds the keep of Provins dates 


Fi^,33. Elevation of the Keep of Provins, on the line R S on the Plans. 
X X. Line of the Present Remains u. C. The Platformi added in the 15th century. 

' To the same scale of 3^, full size. 

" All above this line has been destroyed, and is here restored in the drawing 
only, from other examples and illuminated MSS. 



from tlie fifteenth century, and was erected by the Eng- 
lish to receive cannon ; it took the place of a wall of 
counter- guard belonging to a much more ancient date. 
The wall, D, was prolonged to reach the Paris gate, and 
established a communication between the platform, C, or 

Fig. 39. Section of the Keep of Provina, on the line A B on the Hans. 
XX. Present Level of the Bmlding. 

the wall of counter-guard, and the parapets of the town 
walls. Anciently, access was obtained to the hall on 


the first story of the donjon, from the parapets of the 
■wall of counter-guard, by means of four posterns, I, 
(fig. 38) communicating with as many flying bridges. 
It was necessary to descend from the first story to the 
ground-floor, which had no communication with the out- 
side; through the doorway, F (fig. 35), you arrived, 
by a descending flight of steps, at the masked well, P 
(see section, fig. 39). A dungeon which is traditionally 
pointed out as the place of imprisonment of John the 
Good, Duke of Brittany, constitutes, with the great cen- 
tral hall, the ground floor : at Gr, an oven had been set 
up in the fifteenth century ; a small chapel was placed at 
H. The first story is composed of several small chambers, 
intended for the quarters of the persons in command. By 
means of the four posterns, I, I, I, I, and the draw- 
bridges, the garrison easily spread themselves along the 
platform or allure of the original enclosure (chemise), which 
we have marked as restored in the plan (fig. 36), and so 
passed out to the prolonged wall, D, communicating with 
the exterior. By the small spiral stair, K, access was 
obtained to the embattled parapets, L (fig. 37), and the 
bartizans, M. Finally, by the steps, N, the second story 
was reached, the defences of which are partially destroyed. 
The ancient buildings in their present state reach no 
higher than the level XX (figs. 38 and 39). There is no 
doubt that the upper portion of this tower was defended 
with great care, a fact which is proved by the arrange- 
ment of the angle-turrets. We have attempted, in the 
elevation and section which we give, to restore this upper 
portion, in strict conformity with the defences which exist 
of this period, and with the indications to be found in 
manuscripts anterior to the thirteenth century ; which 
indications, however, it must be allowed, are extremely 
insufficient. The position of the timber hoards of the four 


upper faces appear to us as placed beyond doubt, as tbere 
could be no other explanation of the recess left over the 
continuous gallery (fig. 39), and which appears intended 
to receive the feet of the great struts of the hoards; 
these hoards being of suiiicient projection to form a ma- 
chicolation beyond the line of the first story parapets. 
The hoards thus placed fiank the turrets, and these, in 
their turn, flank the faces of the tower. 

But, in the thirteenth century, they appear to have 
abandoned all square or angular forms, in setting out 
their donjons, in order definitively to adopt the circular 
plan. About the close of the twelfth, or the beginning 
of the thirteenth century, the donjon of Chateaudun, 
and that of the Louvre, were erected on a circular plan. 
Somewhere about the year 1220, Enguarrand III. de 
Coucy erected the admirable donjon which is still in ex- 
istence, "We shall close this part of our subject by 
giving a detailed account of this donjon, as being the 
largest, the most complete, as well as that in which the 
systeQi of defence is the strongest, and, at the same time, 
the most easily explained, of all those known to us. 
We, have given (fig. 26) the site of the castle of Coucy, 
and its position in relation to the town. From the place 
d'armes, or lower court-yard, in which the domestic 
offices were placed, an entrance is obtained into the 
castle over a bridge, A (fig. 40), flanked by two guards 
houses. This bridge could easily be cut off in time of 
war, its causeway resting merely upon detached piers. 
The great keep, B, and its chemise, commanded at once 
:the lower courtyard and the moat, the back of the sur- 
rounding curtains, and the whole of the castle. The 
towers H, H, H, H, belong to the same date as the 
donjon, as likewise the chapel, D, The upper portions 
of the entrance-gateway, and the great halls, E, F, were 



Eig. 40. Plan of tlie Castle of Couoy 

A. the Bridge. 

B. the Keep. C. the Ditch. 
G. a Bastion. 

D. theChapeU E & F. the Great Halls. 
HHHH. Towers. 

rebuilt at the commencement of the fiifteenth century. 
If the castle were taken, the garrison retired within the 
keep, to which the only mode of ingress was through a 
single doorway, provided with a drawbridge : a ditch, 
C, isolated the donjon from its chemise. The entrance- 
passage, A (see the plan of the ground-floor, fig. 41), 
was defended by a portcullis, two doors,, and an iron 
railing, or grille ; on the right, a spacious staircase leads 
to the upper stories ; on the left, a corridor which gives 
access to the necessaries, B. This ground-fl^oor was dimly 
lighted by a few narrow windows, placed at a great 
height above the ground (see the section, fig. 44, upon 
the lines P of the plans), and probably by the central 


eye or opening of the vault, which in all probability was 

Fig. 41. Ground-pTan of the Keep of Couoy. 

A. The Entrance. B, The GaTderohes. . C. The Ditch. 

O P. Line of the Section, flg. 44. 

D. The Well. 

-■*•* . 

repeated at each story up to the top, to facilitate the 
communication of orders and the hoisting of projectiles, 
and to admit air into the building. A wide and very 
deep well was sunk at D, in one .of the eleven, recesses 
which surround the hall ; in the second bay beyond this 
well is a fireplace. The vaulting, which is now de- 
stroyed, but the springing-courses of which still remain, 
rested upon sculptured capitals of fine design and on 
corbels representing figures in a bending position. The 



first story offers a plan similar to that of the ground- 
floor (fig. 42). Beneath the recessed sill of one of the 
windows a closet is constructed, giving access to a pas- 
sage made in the thickness of the wall, and commu- 
nicating with a sally-port, D, which, by means of a draw- 
bridge, enables the garrison to roach the parapets of the 

FiS. 42. Plan of the First Story oi'tho Keep of Coucy. 
D. The Sally-port, E. The Fireplace. O P. Lines of tlie Section, fig. 44. 

chemise. The fireplace of this story is at E. The second 
story (fig. 43) offers an admirable arrangement ; it con- 
sists of a great hall, surrounded by a gallery, the floor 
of which is raised some ten feet above the pavement of 
the hall, whilst wooden balconies placed at G, the marks 
of which are everywhere apparent, enabled those in the 



hall to advance as far as the inner circumference formed 
by the upper extremities of the piers. Here it was the 
whole garrison was assembled, when general orders 
had to be given out. From twelve to fifteen hundred 
men could, by means of the gallery and balconies above 
mentioned, be easily collected in this immense rotunda, 
and whatever was said at the centre could be heard by 
all. We know of nothing, either in the monuments of 
Eoman antiquity or in our modem edifices, which pos- 
sesses an appearance at once so strikingly grand, and so 


Fig. 43. Plan of the Second Story of the Keep of Couoy. 
G G G G. Wodaeii GaUeries. O P. Line of the Section, fig. 44. 

stamped with the impress of power, as this beautiful 
structure ; of which, indeed, our section (fig. 44) can 
convey but a very feeble idea. Still ascending the spiral 



staircase, we reach the battlemented story (fig. 43). A 
flagged or leaded covering protected the vaulting and 
formed an inclined platform, round which a wide walk 
or allure allowed of a free passage and access to the 
parapet. The channels for the flow of surface water, 
which are carefully constructed in the haunches of the 
vaults over the gallery, prove beyond a doubt that this 
story was always uncovered ; but in time of war a line 


Fig. 44. Plan of the Platform Ion the Roof, the Allure hshind the Parapet, and oi 
the Battlements) of the Keep of Coney. 

of two-storied hoarding was placed upon stone corbels, 
built into the thickness of the wall below the battle- 
ments (fig. 44). We here see the first appearance of 
the transition from timber hoarding to stone machico- 



Fj^.45. Section of the Keep of Coucy, on- the line OP of the Plans 


lation. For a work, indeed, so powerfully conceived and 
executed as this was, wooden hoarding resting upon 
overhanging beams must have appeared a defence not 
sufficiently durable. This system, of timber hoarding 
resting upon stone corbels, is applied not only to the 
keep at Coucy, but likewise to the towers of the castle. 
Nor is it the defensive dispositions at Coucy alone 
which are calculated to attract the attention of the 
architect and antiquary; the keep retains, as we have 
already mentioned, fragments of sculpture of the highest 
beauty ; and everywhere may be found the traces of co- 
loured ornament, exceedingly simple but executed in a 
fine style. There are still several curious facts in con- 
nection with the construction of this immense fortress 
which require notice. Everything therein which may 
be classed as a matter of general use (such as the seats, 
the steps of stairs, the sills of the upper windows,) ap- 
pear as if intended for a race larger than man : the 
benches are 2 feet high, the risers of the steps from 12 
to 16 inches ; the siUs of the windows are 3 feet 6 inches 
high. The materials built into the work are of enor- 
mous dimensions ; we find lintels of doors not less than 
two cubic yards, and courses of stone 27| inches in 

The following appears to have been the plan followed 
in the erection of the donjon at Coucy : the construction 
was carried on spirally from the base to the summit, by 
means of a scaffolding which was fixed as the works 
proceeded; this scaffolding, erected outside of the ex- 
ternal face of the wall, formed an inclined tramway, by 
means of which the largest stones could be wheeled up 
to the summit. The square holes of the transverse 
beams of this scaffolding, and of the braces which kept 
them in position, are still visible, very regularly dis- 


posed on the circumference of the enormous cylinder. 
It was impossible to adopt a course at once more simple 
or more ingenious for building rapidly, and without use- 
less expense, a tower of such dimensions ; a tower which 
is not less than 100 feet in external diameter, and 200 
feet in height from the bed of the moat to the bottom of 
the water-table which surmounted the enriched cornice 
at the summit. At -^he present day the vaults of the two 
stories have fallen in, and the upper water-table, or 
coping, above referred to, as well as the four pinnacles 
which crowned it, no longer exist. This crowning mem- 
ber is mentioned by Ducerceau in his book, " On the 
most excellent Buildings in France" {^Des plus excellents 
idtiments de France) ; we meet with some fragments of it 
on the upper parapets and at the bottom of the moat, but 
of the pinnacles we have not been able to discover any 
remains ; excavations made in the moat would probably 
lead to their being partly recovered ^. The whole of the 
masonry was chain-bonded by means of wooden wall- 
plates, from seven to eleven inches square, built into the 
thickness of the walls, according to the mode still in use 
in the twelfth century. Above the vaulting of the first 
story this timber was linked to a system of radiating 
bars, also of wood. 

It would seem as if this keep had been built for a 
race of giants, and the appearance of the structure is in 
harmony with the power displayed in its execution: 
fitting dwelling-place for that Enguerrand III. de Coucy 
who is indeed the greatest figure of the feudal age. We 
must bear in mind that this heroic personage, after having 

" It is to be desired that the Government would authorize excavations to be 
made in the castle of Coucy ; as there is there a mine of precious information 
bearing upon the history of architecture, as applied to the military art of the 
Middle Ages. We excavate at Nineveh, but leave buried at a few leagues from 
Paris traces, still vital in their interest, of the history of Prance. 



ravaged the dioceses of Eteims and Laon ; after King 
Philip- Augustus had made to the Chapter of Eheims, 
who complained to him of his acts of violence and of the 
ravages he had committed on their lands, the celebrated 
answer, " I can do no more for you than pray the Sire 
de Coucy to leave you unmolested," — aspired, under the 
monarchy of Louis XI., to the throne of France. He 
was lord of Montmirail, of Oisy, of Crevecoeur, of la 
Ferte-Aucoul ; possessed the lands of Conde in Brie; 
was Count of Eoucy, Yiscount of Meaux, and Castel- 
lain of Cambrai. Fifty knights were always round him, 
independently of the vassals who owed him military 
service. Fifty knights, with their following, formed a 
guard of about five hundred men. In the thirteenth 
century such a position, and a castle like that of Coucy, 
placed a vassal of the kiag of France on a footing of 
equality with his suzerain. But although it was given 
to only a small number of the vassals of the crown of 
France to take so high a place or acquire such immense 
riches, and an influence so considerable, all of them in 
varying degrees wished to preserve their independence, 
and to keep up a perpetual struggle with a society al- 
ready aspiring to monarchical unity ; all of them erected 
castles : there was not the smallest of the seigneurs but 
had his nest, his barred refuge, and his men: and in 
time of war he sided with such or such party ; now for 
his feudal suzerain the king, at another time for the 
foreigner ; according as he thought he could obtain hon- 
our, or profit, or, it might be, the satisfaction of a per- 
sonal revenge. 

How poor soever the castle might be, advantage was 
always taken, as far as possible, of the natural escarp- 
ments of the ground, when it was being erected; for 
thereby it was placed beyond the reach of engines of 


war, of the sap and of the mine. As the attack was 
never made except close to the walls, and as the cata- 
pults and other projectiles of that nature could not hurl 
their projectiles to a very great height, there was a great 
advantage in commanding the assailants either by a na- 
tural escarpment of crag, or by structures of a great ele- 
vation; whilst means for resisting the external enemy, 
on the level of the plane of attack, were prepared in the 
lower portions of the towers and curtain-walls. While, 
under the influence of the monarchy, feudalism was 
undergoing a process of subdivision, it made up for its 
decreasing resources by calling to its aid the most active 
means of defence; it exerted all its ingenuity in placing 
its castle in a position to resist the most formidable 
attacks; it multiplied the obstacles round its places of 
refuge ; hither tended its constant anxiety,- this was the 
end and aim of all its sacrifices, and the best use to 
which its revenues and the wealth derived from the 
deeds of prowess of its members could be put. In this 
way also it served to give a powerful impulse to the 
progress of the art of fortification. 

We have already seen that the towers of the ancient 
Eomanesque period had their lower portions unexcavated, 
and the curtain-walls were revetted terraces of earth- 
work. From the beginning of the twelfth century the 
inconvenience attending this mode of construction had 
been felt, as it gave the besieged merely the tops of the 
towers and curtain-walls for his defence, and left all the 
basement and foundations open to the miners and pio- 
neers of the enemy ; thus the latter could place shoring 
timbers under the foundations and bring down great 
lengths of wall by setting fire to these props, or sink the 
gallery of a mine under the foundations and earth-work, 
and thus obtain an opening into the interior of the works. 



In order to meet these sources of danger, the military- 
engineers of those times constructed lower stories in 
their towers, beginning at the bed of the ditch, the level 
of the water, or the upper surface of the rock escarp- 
ments ; these stories were provided with loop-holes, 
radiating in the manner indicated at fig. 46, so as to be 
able to direct a fire from every point of the circum- 
ference, as far as this was practicable. The same ar- 
rangement was adopted in the curtain-walls, especially 
wherever they served as the outer walls of buildings 
divided iato stories, which in castles was almost always 
the case. The pioneers had thus increased difficulty in 
arriving at the foot of the walls, for they were obliged 
to protect themselves not only against projectiles flung 
down from the top, but likewise against arrows fired 
obliquely and horizontally through the loop-holes; if 
they succeeded in effecting a breach at the base of the 
wall of the tower, they were sure to find themselves 
opposed by a force of the besieged, who, made aware by 
the noise of the sap of what was going on, were enabled 
to throw up a palisade, or a second wall behind the 
breach, and thus render their labour vaia. So that when 
the assailants, by means of their engines, had dismounted 
the hoards, dismantled the battlements, filled up the 
moats; and when with his companies of archers and 
cross-bows, whose fire swept the summit of their ram- 
parts, he had at last made it possible for his pioneers to 
get to work ; these latter, unless they were both very 
numerous and very bold, and unless they could throw up 
trenches of great width and bring down an entire work 
at a time, found, behind the opening they had effected, 
an enemy awaiting them in the lower rooms of the 
works, on the ground level. Should the assailants even 
succeed in forcing their way into these works by killing 


story B. story C. 


Story A. 

Outer Face. 



-i ' 

T^i^. 46. Elevation, Section, and Plans of a Tower at Carcassonne. 

A A. Section and Plan of the Ftrst Story. B B. Section and Plan of the Second Story. 

C C. Section and Plan of the Third Story. 

the defenders, they would still have to gain access to 
the upper stories, up narrow staircases easily barricaded 
and guarded by doors and iron gratings (^grilles). 

It is worth observation that the out-works and the 
towers of the lists were pierced with loop-holes of a form 




permitting tlie besieged to employ a horizontal fire, in 
order to defend the approaches at a great distance, whilst 
the loop-holes of the towers and curtains of the second 
enceinte were made to facilitate a plunging or vertical 
fire. These openings, however, which on the outside 
were no more than some four inches in width, widening 
to a yard or a yard and a-half inside, served rather for 
reconnoitring the enemy's movements, and for letting 
air and light into the interior of the apartments of 
the towers, than for defence ; the angle at which they 
commanded the outside was too acute, especially when 
the walls were of a great thickness, to allow of the 
arrows, bolts, or quarrels fired through these narrow 
sUts to do any serious damage to the assailants. The 
real defences of the tower were placed at the top of the 
works. There, in times of peace, and when the hoards 
were not mounted, the parapet wall, of a thickness vary- 
ing from 18 inches to 2 feet 3 inches, pierced with em- 
brasures closely set, and almost 
rectangular in the opening, 
commanded almost every point 
outside ; the crenelles, to which 
were attached hanging doors of 
wood moving upon a horizontal 
axis, and which were lowered 
or elevated by means of a 
notched iron quadrant bar, ac- 
cording as the enemy was more 
or less distant, allowed those 
within to reach easily the moats 
Hanging Shutter and surrouudiug country while 

themselves under shelter (fig. 47 >'). 

Fi| 47. A Crenelle -wltli its -wooden 

' We give a drawing of one of these crenelles of the upper stories of the towers 
of the city of Carcassonne, which date from the end of the thirteenth century. The 



Eound towers flanking the curtains resisted the action 
of the sap and the blows of the battering-ram better than 
square ones, and on this account had been adopted gene- 
rally, from the first, in the fortifications of the Middle 
Ages ; but at the close of the twelfth century they were 
of small diameter, and capable of containing a very re- 
stricted number of defenders ; the limited extent of their 
circumference allowed of no more than two or three loop- 
holes on each story, and they could therefore ofily operate 
feebly against the two adjoining curtains ; their diameter 
was increased in the thirteenth century, when they were 
provided with stories down to the level of the moat. It 
was easier for the besiegers to batter a tower than a 
curtain (fig. 48), for when once established at the point 


Fig. 48. Plan of part of a Curtain--wall with a Bastion. 

A. Point of the Bastion. B C. Flanks of the Bastion, on which the Hoards were placed. 

D. Inner Wall of the Bastion or Tower. 

A, and when they had succeeded in burning the hoards 
from B to C, the besieged had no longer the power to 
molest them ; but in the enceintes of the towns, all the 
towers being closed at the gorge, D, when the assailants 
had made a breach at A, or thrown down the semi- 

lower door, or louvre-board, hung simply from the two iron hooks in the wall, was 
removed when the hoarding was put up, as it was through these crenelles that the 
garrison passed from the interior to the hoards. As for the upper hoarding, it was 
fixed permanently by means of hinges at either side of the opening, and could be 
raised to let in light and air without danger from the projectiles outside, when the 
lower portion was down. 



circumference of th.e tower, they still had not effected 
an entrance into the town, but had new difficulties to 
overcome. This is the reason why they preferred, when 
laying siege to a fortified place, to attack the curtains, 
although their approaches were more difficult than those 
of the towers (fig. 49) ; for the besiegers when they had 

I"i^. 49. Plan of one Bay of a CuTtain--waU -witli part cf two Baabions. 

A. The Weakest Point, or Breach. B C. The two Bastions. 

EF. Temporary wall thrown up by the besieged within the Breach. 

reached the point A, after having destroyed the upper 
defences of the towers, B C, and made their breach, 
were in the town, unless, as often happened, the be- 
sieged had rapidly thrown up a second wall, E F ; but 
it seldom was found that these provisional defences could 
hold out for any length of time. The assailants, how- 
ever, in all well-directed sieges, made simultaneous at- 
tacks, some by means of the sap, others by the mine, and 
others finally (these last being the most terrible) by means 
of moveable turrets; for, when once this turret had 
been brought close to the walls, the success of the attack 
was no longer doubtful. But in order to be enabled to 
bring these wooden towers, without risk of having them 
burnt by the besieged, close to the parapets, it was neces- 
sary to destroy the hoards and battlements of the adjoin- 
ing towers and curtains, a labour which it required 
numerous engines and much time to effect. It was ne- 
cessary to fill the moat completely, and to be certain. 


moreover, when the moat was filled, that the besieged 
had not mined its bed under the point upon which the 
tower was directed, an operation which they seldom left 
imtried, if the nature of the soil did not present an in- 
superable obstacle. 

So early as the close of the thirteenth century the ne- 
cessity had been felt, in order more completely to com- 
mand the curtains, not only of increasing the diameter 
of the towers, and thereby rendering the destruction of 
their upper defences a task of greater length and diffi- 
culty, but, further, of increasing their flanks by ter- 
minating them exteriorly with a projecting angle which 
already gave them the form of a horn (fig. 50). This 


Fil- 60. Plan of a Horn. 

A. The Beak. BBC. The Hoards of the Horn. D D. The Hoards of the Curtain. 

angle had several advantages : firstly, it considerably 
increased the force of resistance of the masonry of the 
tower at the point where it would be likely to be at- 
tacked by the ram or the sap ; secondly, it defended the 
curtains better by extending the flanks of the hoards, BC, 
which thus assumed the form of a line nearly perpen- 
dicular to the ramparts; and, thirdly, by keeping the 
pioneers at a distance, it allowed those placed in the 
hoards of the curtains at D to reach them at an angle 
much less acute than when the towers were circular, and 



consequently to hurl their projectiles from a less distance 
and with greater effect. At Carcassonne these projecting 
angles, or horns, are of the form shewn in plan by the 
figure 50, But at the castle of Loches, as well as 
at the gate of St. John at Provins, they were given 
the form, in plan, of two broken or intersecting curves 

.i isM. 

FiS- 61. Beaks of Loolies and of the Gate Fi^. 62. Beats of tlie Q-atea of Jouy at 
of St. Jolin at Provins. Erovins, and of Villeneuve-le-Roi. 

(fig. 51), and at the gate of Jouy in the same town 
(fig. 52) and at the gates of Villeneuve-le-Eoi that of 
rectangular works terminating in a point, in such a way 
as to command obliquely the entrance and the two adja- 
cent curtains. It will therefore be seen that the incon- 
venience of circular towers had been discovered from the 
beginning of the thirteenth century, and the weakness 
inherent in them at the point of the tangent parallel 
with the curtains. The use of the means here indicated, 
however, appears to have been reserved for places very 
strongly defended, such as Carcassonne, Loches, &o. ; 
for occasionally in places of the second order they were 
content to have square towers of slight projection for the 
defence of the curtains, as may be seen to this day on 
one of the fronts of the enceinte of Aigues-Mortes 
(fig. 53), the ramparts of which (with the exception of 


the tower of Constance, A, which had been built by 

Fig 63. Plan of tlie Town of Aigues-Mortsa. 

St. Louis, and which was used as a donjon and light- 
house) were erected by Philip the Bold ''. 

But it was at the projecting angles of fortified places 
that the necessity more especially was felt of placing the 
strongest possible defences. As is still the case at the 
present day, the assailants looked upon a projecting 
angle as easier of access than a flanked front. The 
engines for hurling projectiles did not carry to any 
great distance until the use of cannon, and the salient 

• " Philip the Bold, who quitted Paris in the month of February, 1272, at the 
head of a numerous army, to endeavour to take possession of the ComtS of Tou- 
loase, and to punish, on his passage, the revolt of Koger Bernard, Count of Foix, 
stopped at Marmande. There he signed, in the month of May, with William 
Boccanegra, who had joined him in this town, a treaty, whereby the latter engaged 
to furnish the sum of 5,000 livres tournois (about 3,500Z. sterling) for the con- 
struction of the ramparts of Aigues-Mortes, in consideration of the cession made 
over to hiin and his descendants by the king, as a fief, of one half of the manorial 
taxes to which the town and port were subject. The letters-patent to this effect 
were countersigned, in order to render them more authentic, by the great oflicers 
of the crown. At the same time, and for the purpose of contributing to the same 
charges, Philip commanded there should be levied in addition to the denier in the 
pound already fixed, a fortieth part on all merchandize which should be brought 
into Aigues-Mortes by land or sea." — Hist, geaer. dm Languedoc. 



The Ditch. 



m. 64. Han of an Angle of the Portifioations of Carcass 

t—J_P_ ts 

Fii. 58. Han of a Projeotang Angle of tbe Castle 

of Falaise. 


angles (which, could not be flanked by defences at a 
distance) remained weak (fig. 54) ; when, therefore, the 
assailants were able to establish themselves at the point 
A, they were completely masked as far as concerned 
the defences adjoining. Thus it was necessary that the 
corner-towers (tours du coin), as they were then generally 
called, should be in themselves of great strength. To 
this end they were built of a greater circumference than 
the others, and were raised to a greater height ; the ex- 
ternal obstacles at their base were multiplied by means 
of wider moats, by palisades, and sometimes even by 
advanced works ; they were armed with projecting horns; 
they were isolated from the adjoining curtains ; care was 
taken to make the two towers of the returns " as strong 
as possible, and sometimes these towers were united by 
a second rampart interiorly (fig. 55 ''). It may be added 
that, for the reasons given, these salient angles were 
avoided as much as possible in all well-fortified places ; 
and when they existed, it was because they had been 
rendered inevitable by the nature of the site, in order to 
command an escarpment, a river, or a road, and to pre- 
vent the enemy from establishing himself on the dead 
level of the base of the ramparts. 

Down to the fourteenth century the gateways were 
provided with gates strongly lined, with portcullises, 
machicolations, and brattishes of two and three stories 
high ; but they had no drawbridges. 

" The plan here given is that of the western angle of the double enceinte of the 
city of Carcassonne, built by Philip the Bold. 

■■ This salient angle (fig. 57), which indicates clearly the arrangement above 
described, is one of the defences of the thirteenth century attached to the castle of 
Falaise. We have already seen how, at Chateau- Gaillard, Richard C(Eur-de-Lion 
had perfectly understood the weakness of the comer-tower of his fortress, and how 
he had detached the whole of the projecting work from the castle proper by meivns 
of a double-flanked rampart and a moat. 



Fig. 56. Plan of the JS)arbonne Gate of the City of Carcasaonne. {See opposite.) 


The fine Narbonne gate of the city of Carcassonne 
(fig. 56), which is one of the strongest we are acquainted 
with, and the construction of which dates back to Philip 
the Bold, is not closed by a drawbridge. In front of 
the barbican. A, or the bridge, B, which spanned the 
moat, one or more moveable causeways originally ex- 
isted. This plan shews how the entrance, C, of the bar- 
bican was flanked by a redent (return) of the curtain D, 
and how care had been taken to mask it from those on 
the outside. If the assailants forced this first gate, they 
presented themselves in flank before the gate of the 
city, E. The passage between the two towers, FF, was 
closed, firstly, by a chain thrown from one tower to the 
other ; secondly, by a machicolation ; thirdly, by an outer 
portcullis ; fourthly, by strong gates, solidly lined with 
iron, and furnished with heavy iron bars ; fifthly, by a 
great square machicolation, G, and two loop-holes, H; 
sixthly, by a third machicolation placed in front of the 
second or inner portcullis, which was lowered at I. If the 
assailants presented themselves at K in order to sap the 
foot of the tower, they were taken in reverse by the re- 
dent L, surmounted by a large watch-tower pierced with 
loopholes ; on the other side of the gate, at M, they were 
in the same way open to be attacked from a tower close 
at hand. As we have already explakied, the projectiag 
horns, N, forced the pioneers to unmask themselves before 
the neighbouring curtains ; and loopholes, 0, pierced at 
the ground level in the ground-floor chamber, opposed 
their approach. Palisades, P, had to be forced before 
they could sap the base of the walls, or place their 

A. The Barbican. F F. The Flanking Towers. L. Another Sedent of the 

B. The Bridge. G. A Square Machicoulis (or Curtain. 

C. Entry to the Barbican. Murdering-hole). M. Part of the Curtain. 

D. Return {Redent) of the HH. Loopholes. N N. The Beaks of the Tower. 
Curtain-wall. I. The Second Portcullis. O O. Loopholes. 

E. Gate of the City. K. Part of the Curtain. PP. Palisades. 


ladders ; and ttese palisades were, in tlie case of an 
attack, furnished with numerous defenders ". Over the 
entrance of the Narbonne gate, at E, were placed in 
times of war a brattish of wood pierced with loopholes, 
and with two heights of machicolations \ The plan of 
the first story of the Narbonne gate (fig. 57) is com- 
posed, firstly, of a central hall or chamber, in the floor 


Fi^. 57. Plan of the First Floor of the Narhonne Gate. 
S S. Small Corridor over the Machicoulis. T T. Recesses in the Walls. 

of which are pierced the great square machicolation, and 
the oblong machicolation in front of the second port- 
cullis; it was also from this chamber that the first 
portcullis was drawn up or let down. Observe the two 
small corridors, S, with their elbows, or right-angled 
turniags, which serve as a communication above the 
first external machicolation, and which are so arranged 
as to allow the garrison to hurl their missiles upon the 
assailants without being themselves visible. On either 
side of the central machicolated chamber are two re- 
cesses, T, formed in the thickness of the wall, which 
served likewise to mask the defenders while engaged in 
rolling down materials on the assailants, when they had 

■^ In the same plate we have given the plan of the first story of the to« er ealkd 
the Tresau, of which we already have had occasion to speak. 

'' The holes and corbels necessary to the laying of this brattish are still perfectly 



been arrested in their progress by the second portcullis. 
Secondly, of two halls or chambers in the two towers, 
furnished with fire-places containing ovens; this first 

Fig 58. Elevation of the JSTaTbonne G-ate. 

story was vaulted like the ground-floor. From the 
ground-floor the way up to the first floor was by two 



staircases adjoining the passage ; but in order to reacli 
the second story and top battlements from the first story, 
it was necessary to take the two staircases at the exter- 
nal angles. It was in this manner that, at eyery step, 
obstacles and diihculties were multiplied; in cases of 
surprise it was necessary to be familiar with the lo- 
calities in order not to lose one's way amidst so many 
turnings and means of access so carefully disguised. 
Trom the city, access to the tower could only be ob- 
tained through the two doorways, V, the parapets of the 
curtain-wall being at a great elevation above the level 
of the streets and without any direct communication with 
them. The two angle staircases led to the second story, 
which comprised the whole internal area of the work ^ 
This story communicated on its anterior face, between 
the two towers, with the great brattish shewn on the 
elevation (fig. 58) through an opening, which, when the 
brattishes were removed in time of peace, served as a 
window ' ; it was amply lighted on the town side by five 
large pointed windows, with mullions, defended on the 
outside by strong cross-barred grilles. Finally we reach 
the battlemented top story which carried the roof (fig. 
59). The great square machicolation (or trap), pierced 
at the centre of the passage in the vaulting of the ground- 
floor, was repeated in the vault over the first story, 
and also, probably, in the floor of the embattled story. 
Through this trap, which served as a means of defence, 
orders could also be communicated from the upper por- 
tions of the gate to the lower stories ; for, according to 
the arrangement of the towers of this period, all orders 

I! In the fifteenth century partitions were constructed to separate this hall into 

' In this geometric elevation we have drawn the brattish and hoards as in 
position at the top of one tower. 



Pig. 59. Plan of tlie Upper Story of tlie NarlDoime Gate. 

X. Part of the Hoarding shenn in the Elevation, flg. 58. w. Hoarding in Front. 

Z Z. Hoarding on the Flanks. 

would be given from the upper stories, inasmuch, as 
therein was concentrated the active element of the de- 
fence. The whole of the anterior portion of this gateway- 
could be furnished at the level of the crenellated story 
with hoards, the holes for which are all existing, pierced 
at regular intervals, at the base of the parapets. In the 
plan (flg. 59) and in the elevation (fig. 58), we have shewn 
at X a portion of these hoards in position. The brattishes 
and hoards could easily contain two hundred men, with- 
out reckoning those whose duty it was to bring up and 
distribute the projectiles, and who did their work without 
interfering with those in the outer works. If the brat- 
tish were taken by escalade, or destroyed by the missiles 
of the enemy, the single opening which gave access to 
the interior was closed, and the assailants were exposed 
to the fire of the two flank hoards, Z, and of the front, "W. 
The second portcullis was manoeuvred from the outside 
parapet, and orders were communicated to those actively 
engaged within the work by means of a small barred 
window, which looked into the central chamber of the flrst 
story, about the height of a man from the floor. From 
the ground-floor of the two towers you descend to two cel- 
lars (covered with quarter-spherical and barrel-vaulting) 




by means of two traps, closed over by flags. The wbole 
appearance of this work corresponds with, its effective 
force; the walls are built, in large courses, of a grey- 
ish sandstone of great hardness ; all the external wall- 
faces are rusticated, that is to say, the joints of each 
stone are relieved by a sinking, and the middle of the 
stone is left rough. This kind of masonry was much in 
use at the close of the thirteenth and beginning of the 
fourteenth century, for fortifications. It is in this way 
that all the curtains and towers of the city of Carcas- 
sonne and the ramparts of Aigues-Mortes, dating from 
the reign of Philip the Bold, are executed. 

In castles it frequently happened that wooden draw- 
bridges, which were removed in time of siege, completely 

Fig. 60. Tiie Dra-wbridie. 

intercepted the communication with the outside • but in 
the enceintes of cities, the approaches were defended by 
palisaded barricades, or by barbicans ; and these barriers 
having been once carried, troops could ordinarily enter 
the city on the level. It was not until the commence- 
ment of the fourteenth century that the practice began 
to be adopted of fixing at the entrance to the bridges 
thrown across the moats before the gates of the town, 



drawbridges of wood in connection with the barriers 
(fig. 60), or with advanced works in masonry (fig. 61 *^) ; 

Kg. 61. Entranoe to the Castle of Montargia. 

and, finally, in a little while, that is to say towards the 
middle of the fourteenth century, the drawbridge was 
applied to the gates themselves, as may be seen at the 
fort of Vineennes, amongst other examples. We must, 
however, add that in many cases, even during the four- 
teenth and fifteenth centuries, the drawbridges were 
merely attached to the advanced works. These draw- 

B Entrance to the castle of Montargis, on the side of the road from Paris to 
OrleanS) (Ducerceau Chdteauae royoMx en France). 



bridges were constructed in the same manner as those 
generally adopted at the present day ; that is to say,, the 
bridge was composed of a causeway or platform of wood, 

4-7V -// ■<1j 

iig b2 'ine '±apc=cu, or ohutter suspended from above. 

which moved upon an axis, and was raised and lowered 
by means of two chains, levers and counter-weights; 

¥i^- 63. A Shutter balanced on a Pivot. 

when raised, the causeway closed (as it still closes in our 
fortresses) the archway of the passage. But there were 



other kinds of moveable doors employed during the 
twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries ; there was 
the impecu, especially intended for posterns, which, re- 
volving on an axis placed horizontally at the top of the 
hanging door, fell back as the person went out (fig. 62) ; 
and the gates of barriers which revolved on axes placed 
about the middle of their height (fig. 63), one of the two 
halves serving as a counter-weight to the other. In the 

!Fig. 64. G-ate of AulDenton, attacked ty the Count ofHainault, 
frora a MS. of Froiesart. 

fine • manuscript of the Chronicles of Froissart in the 
Imperial Library (of France ''), we find a vignette which 

•■ Manusc. 8320, vol. i. in-fol., ■beginning of the fifteenth century. This vignette, 
of virhich we here give a portion, accompanies chap. xlvi. of this manuscript, en- 


represents the attack on the barriers of the town of 
Aubenton, by the Count of Hainault. The gate of the 
barrier is defended in this manner (fig. 64) ; it is pro- 
vided with two wooden towers of defence. Behind, we 
see the gate of the town, which is a stone building, 
although the text describes the town of Aubenton as 
"only closed with palings." Soldiers are in the act of 
flinging from the battlements a bench, and other pieces 
of furniture and of pottery. 

We have seen how during the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries it was customary to protect the summits of 
towers and curtains by timber hoarding. It is unneces- 
sary to say that the assailants endeavoured, by means of 
their catapults and other machines of that nature, to 
shatter those hoards with stones, and to burn them with 
inflammatory projectiles ; a result which they easily ob- 
tained, if the walls were not of a great height, or if the 
hoards were not covered with raw hides, or were not 
hourdes, that is, coated with loam or mortar. Abeady, 
towards the middle of the thirteenth century, an attempt 
had been made to render the timber hoards less liable to 
be burnt by resting them on corbels of stone. It was 
in this way that, at Coucy, the hoards of the town gates, 

titled, Comment le comte de Haynault print et detrtdt Aiibenion en terrasse. It 

forma chap. cii. of the edition of the Ohronicles in the Pantheon Utteraire 

" Then began the assault with terrible force, and the crossbows were set to work, 
inside and out, to keep up a vigorous fire ; by which fire were many wounded, both 
of defendants and assailants. The Count of Hainault and his guard (route) wherein 
were many good knights and squires, rode up to the barriers of one of the gates. 
Thereat was there an assault fierce and terrible. On the bridge likewise, at the 
gate towards Chimay, where were Messire Jean de Bourmont and Messire Jean 
de la Bove, there was another terrible assault and fierce conflict, and the French 
were obliged to withdraw within the gate j for they lost their barriers and the 
bridge also, which were taken by the Hainault men. And the assault was dire, 
for those who were mounted on the gate hurled down timber and planks, and 
earthen pots filled with lime, and a great quantity of stones, wherewith they 
wounded and crushed all those who were not covered with strong armour." 



and of th.e towers and donjon, wMch. belong to this period, 
were supported (see fig. 45). Still the faces and floors 
of these hoards might take fire. In the fourteenth cen- 
tury, during the wars of this period, when so many- 
towns were given up to fire and pillage, "arses et rohees," 
as Froissart has it, the timber hoardings were almost 
everywhere replaced by continuous brattishes of stone, 
which possessed all the advantages of the hoards, inas- 
much as they commanded the foot of the walls, without 
any of their inconveniences : these new crest- works could 
not be burnt, and offered a greater resistance to the pro- 
jectiles hurled by the engines ; they were stationary, and 
not fixed only in time of war, like the wooden hoards. We 
have seen in the case of Chateau-Gaillard how Eichard 
Cceur-de-Lion had already applied, in a manner in ad- 
vance of his century, an excellent and incombustible kind 
of machicolation. But in order to secure a broad parapet 

Tig. 65. Plan of the Hoarding. 

A. The Allure, or Walk on the Stone Wall. B. An outer Gallery of Wood. 

C. Machicoulis. D. Loopholes. E. Upper Gallery. F. Inner Gallery. 

G, Post to carry it. 

for the defenders, and a projection from the face of the walls 
which allowed of opening machicolations of a good size, 


it soon became necessary to modify the whole system of 
construction in the upper portions of the defence. By 
means of wooden hoards there was added to the parapet- 
walk in masonry, A (fig. 65), a projecting gallery, B, 
having pierced machicolations at C, and loopholes at D ; 
but the width of the parapet was often further increased, 
either by extending the hoards interiorly in the direc- 
tion of the town at E, or by adding to the parapet-walk 
wooden joisting, F, the beams to support which were let 
into cavities formed, at regular intervals, under the top 
of the curtain-walls ; which beams were supported at 
their other extremity on story-posts, G. These supple- 
mental defences were generally reserved for such cur- 
tains as appeared weak and of easy approach \ Hoards 
had the advantage of allowing the stone parapet to re- 
main, and of preserving intact behind them another 
system of defences, when they were burnt or otherwise 
injured. It was with difficulty that, with stone brat- 
tishes and machicolations, those wide spaces and those 
divisions so useful to the defence could be obtained ; we 
will describe the measures which were taken for curtain- 
walls, which it was considered important to have strongly 
defended (fig. 66). Corbels were laid in courses, one 
projecting over the other, at intervals of from 2 J to 4 feet 
at most, from centre to centre. On the outer extremity 
of these corbels was erected a pierced parapet, B, 12 to 
16 inches thick, of stone, and about 6| feet high. In 
order to counterpoise the overhanging corbels at C, an 
inner wall was erected, pierced with doorways and square 
apertures at regular distances, and of a sufficient height 
to afford the roof-covering the proper inclination. Behind 

' At Carcassonne, on the south side, the ramparts of the second enceinte were 
furnished with these works in times of war ; traces of them are perfectly preserved 
in the Karbonnaise gate, at the western angle-tower. 



Fi^. 66. Sections of part of a C artain-wali, -well defended. 

B. The pierced Parapet, or Battlement. 
L. Wooden Gallery within the Wall. 

C. The Wall with Corhels. D. The Roof. 
G. The Allure and Station for Archers. 

the wall, C, were fixed wooden galleries, L, wHch took 
the place of the galleries, E, of the wooden hoards (fig. 65), 
and which were necessary for keeping the parapets sup- 
plied with projectiles and for the free passage of those 
engaged in that duty, without interfering with the 
archers and others posted at G (fig. 66). For towers, 
the arrangement was still more complete. Retaining 
the same disposition in the machicolated story as de- 
scribed for curtain -walls, they super-imposed on th« 
wall, C, another story, H, pierced with crenelles or loops, 
and occasionally even at the base of the roof at I, an- 
other uncovered line of battlements was formed. So 



Fig. 67. Battlements and. Macliicoulis of a Tower. 

B. The Parapet. C. The Wall. G. The Allure on the Machicoulis. H. Upper Story. 
I. Upper Battlement. K. The Doors, 

that were the covered way, G, to be taken by escalade, 
or by means of the moving turrets, after the destruction 
of the parapets, B ; by barricading the doors, K, those 
holding the tower would still be able to drive back the 
assailants (who would thus find themselves hemmed in 
at G on a space without any issues) by flinging on them 
from the stories H and I, stones, beams, and all kinds of 



projectiles. The manuscript of Eroissart in the Impe- 
rial Library (of Paris), wMch. we have already quoted, 
gives a great number of towers arranged in this manner 
amongst its vignettes \ Many of these drawings shew 

^i^. 68. Newcastle-on-Ty-ne, from a MS. of Froissart. 
A. The Hoarding. 

that the timber-hoards, A, were retained, together with 
the stone machicolations, the former being kept for the 
defence of the curtain- walls ; and, in point of fact, those 
two modes of defence were long applied together, the 
brattishes and hoards of wood being much less costly in 
the erection than stone machicolations. The castle of 
Pierrefonds, built during the latter years of the four- 

'' Vignette accompanying chapter cxxv., entitled : — " How King David Bruce 
of Scotland came with his whole army hefore the new castle on the Tyne." 



teentli century, still displays, in a very complete man- 
ner, those two kinds of upper defences. We give (fig. 69) 

I'ig. 69. Part of the Caai,l9 of Pierrefonda. 

A. The Machicoulis. D. The AUure. H. Upper Story. 

B. Tail Stones of the Parapet. E. Corhels of the Roof. I. Uiiper Battlement. 

C. Weather-moulding of the F. Openings in the Wall. K. The Stair-turret and Watoh- 
Boof. G G. The Doors. tower. 

the present state of the angle formed by the north- 



^€0hfiO.-J^. "ill 

Si^. 70. Part of tlie Caetle of Pierrefonds, restored. 


"western tower and the north, curtain-wall. "We see per- 
fectly, at A, the machicolations still in position ; at B, 
the tailing of the stone parapets where they entered the 
wall of the tower ; at C, the weather-molding of the shed- 
roof which covered the parapet- walk, D ; at E, the stone 
corbels which carried the ridge of this roof; at G, the 
doors which communicated with the parapet from the 
staircase, and at F, openings which served for passing 
projectiles from the interior of the tower to those de- 
fending the battlements ; at H, an embattled story, 
opening above the machicolations ; at I, the last un- 
covered battlement at the base of the roof : finally, at K, 
the staircase-tower, used as a watch-tower at its summit. 
But, in castles more particularly, because of the small- 
ness of the reserved space between their enceintes, the 
curtains served as external walls to the buildings placed 
between the towers along the line of those enceintes, so 
that the parapet- walk gave access to the chambers which 
thus occupied the place of the wooden shed, L, shewn in 
figure 66. We subjoin (fig. 70,) the restoration of this 
portion of the defences of Pierrefonds. From this the 
destination of each of the details of military construction 
which we have just described will be easily understood. 
But in this case we have the strongest possible forms of 
defence which were adopted for walls and towers ; many 
works were inferior to those as to arrangement, and were 
composed merely of battlements and machicolations of 
slight projection, with narrow parapet-walk. Such are 
the walls of Avignon, which, considered as to their pre- 
servation, are certainly the finest at present existing in 
French territory ; but which, looking at them with a 
view to their efi'ective strength, did not present a for- 
midable defence for the period at which they were 
erected. Following the method then in use in Italy, 


the walls of Avignon are flanked by towers, which, with 
some exceptions, are square \ In France the round tower 
had been considered, and justly, as stronger than the square 
one ; for, as we have already demonstrated, the pioneer, 
while engaged at the base of the round tower, was com- 
manded obliquely by the adjoining curtains, whilst if he 
attained at the base of the external face of a square 
tower, at 0, he was completely covered as regarded the 

defences in his immediate prox- 
imity (fig, 71); and by prevent- 
ing those defending from shew- 
,V-r<!^ ing themselves at the battle- 

■^ ~~^ ments, and by the destruction of 

Fig. 71. Plan Ola square Tower. ^ f^^ ^f ^j^^ machicOktionS im^ 

mediately over him, he might pursue his sap-works in 
perfect security. Contrary also to the rules of French 
fortification in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, 
the square towers of the ramparts of Avignon are open 
on the city side (fig. 72) ; and, consequently, no longer 
tenable from the moment the enemy had obtained an 
entrance into the city. The walls of Avignon are more 
than a flanked enceinte, representing the external en- 

' We have already seen that the ramparts at Aigues-Mortes are likewise, upon 
one front, flanked by square towers, and we should bear in mind that they were 
erected by the Genoese, Boccanegra. The enceinte of Paris, however, which was 
rebuilt under Charles V., was likewise flanked by oblong towers ; but the enceinte 
of Paris never was considered as of any great strength. Square towers belong 
rather to the south than the north of France ; the ramparts of Cahors, which date 
from the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries shew square towers, of a 
fine arrangement for defence; the ramparts of the towns of thecoin^ajof Venaissin 
are mostly furnished with square towers which date from the fourteenth century^ 
as well as the greater number of the towns of Provence and the Rhdne. Orange 
was provided with square towers, constructed at the close of the fourteenth cen> 
tury. The Normans and Poitevins, up to the time when the provinces were united 
to the Domaine Soyal, that is to say, until the beginning of the thirteenth cen> 
tury, appear to have adopted, in preference, the square form for their towers and 
donjons. The majority of the ancient castles built by the Normans in England 
and Sidly contain rectangular defences. 



>-^-^^ •*'? 

Fig. 72. Part of tlie'"WaU3 of Avilnon, inside. 

ceintes of towns having a double line of fortification, 
and not curtain- walls broken at intervals by forts which 
could themselves hold out against an enemy when mas- 
ter of the place. These walls are not even furnished 
with machicolations throughout their whole extent, and 
the south side of the city is only defended by simple 
battlements, which were not intended to receive wooden 
hoards. Their height does not everywhere reach the 
minimum given to good defences in order to place them 
beyond the reach of the scaling ladders (echelades'^). 

Escalade by means of ladders. 



There is, nevertheless, in the enceinte of Avignon, a 
certain grandeur of arrangement, an unity of combina- 
tion, which proves that at this period the art of forti- 
fication was complete, that method had taken the place 
of hap-hazard experiment in the defence of cities, and 
that the constructors were guided by the light of ex- 
perience and a long practice. In order to complete our 
description of the defences of Avignon we give here 
examples of the system of flanking generally adopted. 
Fig. 73 shews the ground-story of one of these towers ; 

Fig. 73. Ground-plan of one of the Towers of Avijnon. 


Tig. 74. Plan of tlie First Story. 

E. Staircase leading to G H. Curtain adjoining. K. The plan for a Breach. 

LM. The plan for an Inner Wall. 

a stair-case, E, closed by a door, gives access to the first 
story, which communicates by means of two doors with, 
the adjacent curtains, GH. A second staircase pro- 




jected on corbels leads up to the battlements (fig. 75)," 
which are pierced with machicolations. This tower is 


Fi^. 76. Plan ofUpper Story -with the Allure and Battlement. 

incapable of defence, it will be observed, except at its 
summit. The perspective view (fig. 76), taken from the 
city side, explains perfectly the whole system of defence, 
and the means of access to the several stories. This 
tower is one of the strongest of the place and is not 
closed towards the town ; it allowed a considerable num- 
ber of men to muster on the top parapets, and if it 
should be sapped at the point K (fig. 73) by the be- 
siegers, it was still possible to defend the breach either 
by throwing a rampart across from one flank wall to the 
other, from L to M, or by hurling stones on the assail- 
ants through the great machicolation, pierced in the floor 
of the first story. But if the city walls of Avignon 
present only a defence of the second or third order, the 
castle, which was the residence of the popes during the 
fourteenth century, was a formidable citadel, capable 
from its site, its extent, and the height of its towers, of 
sustaining a long siege. There, again, the towers are 
square, but of such a height and thickness as to be able 
to defy the sap, and all projectiles hurled from the 
engines then in use ; they are crowned by parapets and 
machicolations resting on corbels. The machicolations 
of the curtains are composed of a series of pointed arches, 



yf — \ \f KCMiO SC 

Fig.. 76, Perapeotive View of the Interior of one of the Towera of Avignon. 

leaving behind them and the external face of the wall a 
space adapted for hurling stones or any other kind of 
projectile through. In the provinces of the south and 
west this kind of machicolation was much used, and 
they were certainly preferable to the machicolations of 



timber hoards, or stone parapets resting on corbels, for 
the reason that they were continuous and not interrupted 
by beams or stone consoles, and allowed consequently 
long and heavy pieces of timber to be hurled down on 
the assailants, along the face of the wall (fig. 77) ; which, 

Fig. 77. Part oi fhe Palace of the Pope at Avignon. 

falling obliquely, were sure to crush the cats or shields 
(pavois), under which the pioneers were lodged. 

The art of fortification, which had made great pro- 
gress at the commencement of the thirteenth century, 
but which remained almost stationary during the course 
of that century, again began to progress during the 


wars which took place from 1330 to 1400. "When 
Charles V. had restored order to his kingdom, and had 
retaken a large number of places from the English, he 
caused nearly all the defences of the reconquered towns 
and castles to be either repaired or rebuilt; and, in 
these new defences, it is easy to see a method and a 
regularity which indicate an art already in a state of 
advancement, and based upon fixed rules. The castle of 
Vihcennes is an example of what we here advance (fig. 
78 °). Built in the plain, there were here no particular 
circumstances of site to be attended to ; and we find 
accordingly that its enceinte is perfectly regular, as 
likewise the donjon and its defences. All the towers 
are oblong or square, but lofty, massive, and well-fur- 
nished at their summits with projecting bartizans flank- 
ing the four faces ; the donjon is likewise flanked at the 
angles by four turrets ; the distances between the towers 
are equal ; these latter are closed and capable of sepa- 
rate defence ". The castle of Vincennes was begun by 
Philippe de Yalois, and finished by Charles V., with the 
exception of the chapel, which was only terminated 
under Francis I. and Henry II. 

The feudal system was essentially adapted for the 

" We subjoin the plan of the castle of Vincennes, which is rather a large place 
d'armes, or fortified enceinte, than a castle in the ancient meaning of the word. 
At E E are the two only entrances within the enceinte j these were defended by 
advanced works and by two lofty oblong towers : at A is the dqnjon, enclosed by an 
enceinte of its own, and a chemise, B. A moat, revetted and of great width, C, 
protects this donjon. At K are the ditches of the enceinte, the counterscarp of 
which is revetted, and has always been so. P is the chapel; G, the treasury; 
D, the bridge which gives access to the donjon; H and I are quarters for the 
garrison and stables. (See Vtie des maisons royales et villes, Israel Sylvestre, in-f .) 
We have taken from the plan given by Sylvestre only the buildings anterior to the 
sixteenth century. During the fourteenth and fifteenth century many others 
must have existed, but we know neither their situation nor their form. 

" The smaller side of the parallelogram of the enceinte, including the projection 
of the towers, is 212 mHres long — 695J feet. 



-H « M 

!Pig. 78. Plan of the Castle of Vinoennea. 

A. The Keep or Donjon. 

B. The Chemise. 

C C. Ditch of the Keep. 
D. Bridge to the Keep. 

E E. Gates of the Castle. 

F. The Chapel. 

G. The Treasury, or Sacristy. 
H H. & I I. Barracks and 

KK. The Woat, or outer Ditch 
of the Castle. 

defence and attack of strong places : — for the defence, 
for the reason that the nobles and their followers lived 
continually in these fortresses, which protected their life 
arid their possessions, and were constantly intent upon 
improving them, and rendering them every day more 


formidable, in order to be able to bid defiance to their 
neighbours or to dictate conditions to their suzerain ; for 
attack, because, in order to seize upon a castle in those 
times it was necessary to engage in daily conflicts, and 
consequently be able always to bring into action a body 
of picked troops of tried valour, and whose vigour and 
boldness counted for more than numerical force or skilful 
combinations in the plan of attack. The improvement 
introduced into the art of defending and attacking strong 
places was abeady highly developed in France, while the 
art of field-warfare was still stationary. France pos- 
sessed excellent troops, men brought up to the use of 
arms from their childhood, brave to rashness, but she 
had no armies; her infantry was made up merely of 
hireling Genoese, Braban^ons, Germans, and of irregular 
troops from the good cities^ badly armed, without any 
notion of executing manoeuvres, undisciplined, and, in an 
action, more a source of embarrassment than any real 
assistance. These troops were thrown into confusion at 
the first shock, and then they precipitated themselves 
upon the reserves and threw the squadrons of men-at- 
arms into disorder J". The passage from Froissart which 

p " There is no man, unless he had been present, that can imagine, or describe 
truly, the confusion of that day j especially the bad management and disorder of 
the French, whose troops were out of number. What I know, and shall relate in 
this book, I have learnt chiefly from the English, who had well observed the con- 
fusion they were in, and from those attached to Sir John Hainault, who was 
always near the person of the king of France. The English, who were drawn up 
in three divisions, and seated on the ground, on seeing their enemies advance, rose 
undauntedly up, and fell into their ranks. That of the prince was the first to do 
so, whose archers were formed in the manner of a portcullis or harrow, and the 
men-at-arms in the rear. The earls of Northampton and Arundel, who commanded 
the second division, had posted themselves in good order on his wing, to assist and 
succour the prince, if necessary. You must know that these kings, earls, barons, 
and lords of France, did not advance in any regular order, but one after the other, 
or any way most pleasing to themselves. As soon as the king of France came in 
sio'ht of the English, his blood began to boil, and he cried out to his marshals, 
' Order the Genoese forward and begin the battle, in the name of God and Saint 


■we give in a foot-note in exienso, shews clearly what, 
during the first half of the fourteenth century, a French 
army was, and how little the noblesse thought of these 
troops of bidauds, of hrigands "J, of Genoese bowmen, — in 
fact, of the infantry. The English began at this period 
to bring into the field an infantry which was numerous, 
disciplined, skilled in the use of the bow'', and even al- 
ready supplied with fire-arms '. The superiority of the 
chevalerie (or cavalry), which up to this time had been 
incontestable, was in its decline ; the Trench gendarmerie 
went on sustaining defeat after defeat until the moment 

Denis.' There were about fifteen thousand Genoese crossbow-men ; hut they were 
quite fatigued, having marched on foot that day six leagues, completely armed 
and with their crossbows. They told the constable they were not in a fit condition 
to do any great things that day in battle. The earl of Alengon coming to hear 
these words, was enraged and cried out, 'This is what one gets by employing such 
scoundrels, who fail you at your need.' .... When the Genoese were somewhat in 
order, and approached the English, they set up a loud shout, in order to frighten 
them ; but they remained quite still and did not seem to attend to it. They then 
set up a second shout and advanced a little forward; but the English never 
moved. Tet a third time they shouted, loud and clear, then advanced within shot, 
strung their crossbows and began to shoot. Then those English archers advanced 
a step forward, and let fly their arrows in so dense a shower upon the Genoese 
that it was like snow. The Genoese, who were not accustomed to meet with such 
archers as those of England, when they felt the arrows piercing through heads, 
arms, and breasts, and through their armour, were sore discomfited ; some of them 
cut the strings of their hows, and some flung them on the ground ; and so they 
fell back. 

"The French had a large body of men-at-arms on horseback and richly ac- 
coutred, to support the Genoese, who, when they wanted to retire, could not, for the 
king of France seeing them thus fall back, discomfited, rashly exclaimed, 'Kill 
me those scoundrels, for they stop up our road without any reason.' You should 
then have seen these men-at-arms lay about them on these runaways, of whom 
many fell never to rise more. And the English still kept shooting wherever there 
was the thickest press, and none of their shots were thrown away, for they struck 
the bodies of men and horses, who thereupon staggered and fell, and none could 
be raised up again without great trouble and the efforts of many men. And thus 
began the battle fought between Broye and Cr&y in Ponthieu, on the same 
Saturday at the hour of vespers." 

1 So called because they wore a coat of mail called a hrigantine. 

' See Etudes sur le passe et I'avenir de I'artillerie, by Prince Louis-Napoleon, 
vol. i. p. 16 and following pages. 

' At Cr&y. 


when Du Guesclin organized companies of tried and 
disciplined foot-soldiers, and by tlie ascendancy of his 
merits as a captain, succeeded in giving a better direc- 
tion to the valour of his horse. These transformations in 
the composition of armies, and the use of cannon, ne- 
cessarily modified the art of fortification, — slowly, it is 
true, for feudalism accommodated itself with diSiculty to 
any innovation in the art of war ; it was necessary for a 
long and cruel experience to teach it, to its cost, that 
valour alone was not sufficient for winning battles or 
taking towns ; that the strong and lofty towers of its 
castles were not impregnable to an enemy who pro- 
ceeded with method, spared his men, and took time 
enough in making his approaches. The war of sieges 
during the reign of Philip de Yalois is not less inter- 
esting to study than the war of campaigns : in the one 
warfare, as in the other, the organization and discipline 
of the English troops gave them an incontestable supe- 
riority over the troops of France. Within the space of 
a few months the Prench army, under the command of 
the Duke of Normandy*, lays siege to the fortified place 
of Aiguillon, situate at the confluence of the Lot and 
the Garonne, and the King of England besieges Calais. 
The French army, which was numerous (Eroissart com- 
putes its strength at nearly one hundred thousand men), 
composed of the flower of our chivalry, after numerous 
assaults and feats of valour unparalleled, can make no 
impression upon the fortress ; the Duke of Normandy, 
having lost many of his men, decides on undertaking 
a regular siege : — 

" On the day after" (the unsuccessful attack upon the castle) 
" there came to the Duke of Normandy two master engineers, 

' Son of Philip de Valois, taken at Poitiers: afterwards King John. 


and said—' Sir, if you will let us have plenty of timber and 
workmen, we will make four great Kas ", strong and Mgli, upon 
four great and strong ships, which Kas or towers shall be 
brought close to the walls, and shall be high enough to over- 
top them.' The duke listened willingly to this offer, and com- 
manded that those four towers should be made, whatsoever 
they might cost, and that there should be set to work all the 
carpenters of the country, who should be payed a good day's 
wages, to make them work the harder. These four towers were 
made after the plan and directions of the two masters, on four 
large ships ; but they were long a-building and cost great sums 
of money. When they were complete, and the men had been 
placed in them who were to attack those in the castle as they 
had crossed the halt of the river, those last-named fired off four 
martinets *, which they had recently had made to oppose the 
four towers already described. These four martinets flung huge 
stones, and the towers were so often struck by them, that they 
were soon shattered and broken, so that the men-at-arms, and 
those who impelled them, could find no shelter. So they were 
obliged to retreat ; and in doing so, one of the towers foundered 
and was sunk in the river, and the greater number of those 
within it were drowned ; which was a sad and pitiful thing, 
there being within it many good knights and squires who 
were eager to win honour for their names >'." 

The Duke of Normandy tad sworn to take Aiguillon, 
nor durst any one in his camp even speak of raising the 
siege ; but the coimts of Guines and of Tancarville went 
to the king at Paris : — 

" They related to him the present state and condition of the 
siege of Aiguillon, and how the duke his son had assailed it on 
many occasions, but had not been able to take it. The king 
was thereat struck with wonderment, but did not recall the 
duke his son ; but desired rather that he should remain before 

" The sequel shews those to have heen towers, or chaz-chateilz. 

» Martinet, an engine working hy counterpoise, adapted for hurling great stones. 

' Froissart, chap, ccxxvi. edit. Buchon. 


Aiguillon, until he had succeeded in capturing and conquering 
it by famine, since by assault he could not take it." 

No such rash imprudence marks the conduct of the 
King of England ; he disembarks at La Hogue, at the 
head of an army, not numerous, but well disciplined; 
he marches through Normandy, taking care to have 
the main body of his army flanked by two bodies of 
light troops, commanded by captains acquainted with the 
ground who scoured the country right and left, and who 
every evening pitched their tents round about him. His 
fleet followed the line of march along the coast, so as 
to secure his retreat in the event of a check ; and after 
each town taken, he sent the booty which it yielded 
on board his ships. He arrives, finally, at the gates of 
Paris ; continues his victorious course as far as Picardy, 
where he is at last met by the army of the King of 
France, which he defeats at Crecy, and presents him- 
self before Calais : — 

" When the King of England came first before the town of 
Calais, in the manner of one who was determined on taking it, 
he besieged it upon a great scale and plan, and he commanded 
to be built between the town and the river, and the bridge of 
Nieulay, hdtels and houses, which were constructed of timber 
frame-work and orderly set in rows and streets, and the said 
houses were covered with thatch and broom, as though he in- 
tended to remain there for ten or twelve years ; for it was truly 
his intention not to stir from before the town, winter or summer, 
until he had taken it, whatever time or pains it might cost him. 
And there were, in this new town built for the king, everything 
required for an army, and more besides ; and a place was set 
apart for holding a market every Wednesday and Saturday, and 
there were mercer's wares, butcher's meat, cloth stores and all 
other necessary things: and each man might have what he 
willed for his money : and the whole of these matters came to 
them every day, by sea, from England and likewise from 


Flanders, which, countries supplied them with provisions and 
merchandize. With all this, the King of England's men scoured 
the country round about, the comt^ of Guines, and Therouenois, 
and as far as the gates of Saint-Omer and Boulogne, bringing 
back to the army great store of provisions of all kinds. And 
the king did not make his people deliver any assault upon the 
said town of Calais, for he well knew that he would spend his 
pains and labour in vain. Therefore he spared his men-at-arms 
and his artillery, and said that he would starve them out, how- 
ever long a time it might take him, if King Philip of France 
did not appear a second time to encounter him and raise the 

King Philip arrives before Calais with a fine army ; 
and the King of England at once has the only two pas- 
sages by which the French could attack him, guarded. 
One of these passages was by the sand-hills along the 
sea-shore ; the King of England has — 

" all his ships and boats drawn up opposite these sand-hills, and 
well furnished with bombards, crossbows, springalds, and all 
such things : so that the French host neither dared nor were 
able to pass." 

The other was the bridge of Nieulay : — ■ 

"and he ordered the Earl of Derby, his cousin, to take up a 
position on the said bridge of Nieulay, with plenty of men-at- 
arms and archers, in order that the French might not be able 
to pass, unless they passed through the marshes, which was not 
possible. Between the mount of Sangattes and the sea, on the 
other side opposite Calais, there was a high tower guarded by 
thirty-two English archers, to dispute the passage of the sand- 
hills by the French, from whose attacks it was strongly fortified 
with great double ditches." 

The men at Tournay attack the tower and take it, 
after losing many of their number ; but the marshals 
announce to Philip that they cannot go further without 
sacrificing a portion of his army. It was on this occa- 


sion that the King of the French took it into his head 
to send a message to the King of England : — 

" Sire," said the envoys, "the King of France sends us hither 
to inform you that he hath come, and is now on the mount of 
Sangattes, for the purpose of encountering you; but he can 
neither see nor find out any way by which he may reach you, 
although he hath a great desire to raise the siege of his good town 
of Calais. He hath therefore made enquiries by his marshals how 
he might reach you, but he finds it a thing impossible. Therefore 
he would be glad if you would take counsel with those around 
you, and he with those around him, that so, by the assistance of 
these a place might be fixed for the combat : and to this end we 
are deputed to claim and require this at your hands." 

A letter from the King of England to the Archbishop 
of York shews that this prince accepted the singular 
proposal of King Philip '^ ; but that, after some parley- 
ing, during which the besieging army continued to for- 
tify themselves more strongly in their camp and to de- 
fend their passages thereto, the King of France suddenly 
broke up his camp and dismissed his soldiers on the 
2nd of August, 1347. 

What precedes indicates that the military spirit was 
undergoing a modification in the West ; and in this new 
path the Anglo-Normans had preceded us. At every 
turn in the fourteenth century the ancient chivalric 
spirit of the French comes into collision with the po- 
litical bent of the Anglo-Normans, and with their na- 
tional organization, already one in its nature, and power- 
ful in consequence. The use of gunpowder in armies 
and sieges was another great blow to feudal chivalry. 
Individual energy, material force and headlong courage 

» The narrative of Froisaart is not in conformity with the king's letter ; accord- 
ing to the chronicler, King Edward refused the oartel of Philip, saying that the 
latter had only to come and meet him in his camp. 


•would soon have to give way to the calculations, the 
forethought and the intelligence of the commander, se- 
conded by troops accustomed to habits of obedience. 
Bertrand du Guesclin is the transitional figure between 
the knights of the twelfth and thirteenth, and the able 
captains of the fifteenth and sixteenth, centuries. It 
must be said that in France inferiority in warfare is 
never of any long duration ; a nation which is warlike 
in its instincts learns still more from its defeats than 
even from its success. We have alluded to the distrust 
on the part of feudal France towards the lower classes, a 
distrust to which may be attributed the preference shewn 
in the army to the employment of foreign mercenaries 
over native troops, who, once dismissed, and having 
become accustomed to the use of arms and a life of 
danger, and numbering, moreover, one hundred to one, 
might have been able to combine against the feudal 
system and destroy it. Eoyalty, trammelled by the pri- 
vileges of its vassals, could not directly call the popula- 
tion under arms ; in order to get an army together, the 
king called upon his nobles, who responded to the appeal 
of their suzerain by bringing with them Jihe men they 
were bound to furnish ; these men composed a brilliant 
gendarmerie of picked troops, followed by hidauds, valets, 
Irigands, forming rather a disorderly herd than a solid 
infantry. The king took into his pay, in order to fill 
up the blank thus left, Genoese or Brabangon archers, 
or those of the corporations of his good towns. The 
former, like all mercenary troops, were more inclined to 
pillage than to fight for a cause with which they had 
no concern ; and the troops furnished by the great com- 
munes, turbulent in their nature, bound only to give a 
temporary service, and but ill disposed to go to any 
considerable distance from their homes, took advantage 


of the first reverse to return to their towns, abandoning 
the national cause, which indeed in their eyes had not 
yet an existence, since no true spirit of nationality could 
co-exist with the subdivisions of the feudal system. It 
was with such bad elements that Kings Philip de Valois 
and John had to struggle against the Gascon and English 
armies, already organized, compact, and regularly paid. 
They were beaten, as was natural. The unfortunate 
provinces of the north and west, exposed to the ravages 
of war, burnt and pillaged, were soon reduced to despair : 
men who had trembled before a coat of mail, while it 
appeared invincible, beholding the flower of the French 
chivalry destroyed by English archers and Welsh gallo- 
glasses, by simple foot-soldiers, that is to say, took up 
arms in their turn : indeed, what other course had they 
open to them ? and formed the terrible companies of the 
Jacques. Those troops of brigands and dismissed sol- 
diers, left to their own resources after a defeat, threw 
themselves upon the towns and the castles : — 

•' And there were always," says Froissart, " to be found poor 
brigands who would rob and pillage towns and castles, taking 
from them immense store of booty .... They could scent, as it 
were, a good town or castle at two days' journey ; then some 
twenty or thirty of these brigands assembled, and they set 
forth and travelled day and night by secret paths, so that they 
entered the town or castle they had got scent of just as day was 
dawning, and set fire to a house or two. And those of the town 
fancied there were a thousand coats of mail come to bum their 
town : so they fled panic-stricken, and these brigands broke 
into houses and chests and caskets, and took whatever they 
found, and so went on their way loaded with booty . . . Amongst 
others was a brigand of Languedoo, who in this way marked 
out the strong castle of Combourne, which lies in the Limousin, 
in a country very difficult of approach. Thither he rode one 
night with a score and a-half of his companions, scaled and took 
the castle, and therein the lord of it, who was called the Vicomte 



de Combourne, and killed the whole of his household ; the lord 
they imprisoned in his own castle, and kept him so long in 
durance, that he was fain to ransom himself for four and twenty- 
thousand crowns, paid down. And the said brigand, further, 
kept the said castle to himself, furnishing it well, and made 
war upon the country. And afterwards, for his prowess, the 
King of France desired to have him near him, and bought his 
castle for twenty thousand crowns; and he became huissier 
d'armes to the King of France, and by him was held in great 
honour. The name of this brigand was Bacon. And he was 
always mounted on good steeds, and as well armed as an earl 
and as bravely attired, and so remained as long as he lived *." 

Here we find the King of Erance making terms with a 
soldier of fortune, giving him a high position, and attach- 
ing him to his person ; by thus acting the King made a 
great stride towards the defence of the national territory : 
he stepped beyond the limits of feudalism to summon to 
his aid chiefs sprung from the people. It was with these 
companies of soldiers, owning no country or allegiance, 
but brave and accustomed to the trade of arms, with 
these highway-men and freebooters, that Du Guesclin 
was about to reconquer, one by one, the strong places 
which had fallen into the hands of the English. Mis- 
fortune and despair had made soldiers of the people; 
even peasants held the country and attacked the castles. 

While conquering a portion of the French provinces, 
the English had had to combat only the feudal nobles. 
After having taken their castles and domains, and finding 
that there was no people in arms, they left in their strong 
places only isolated and feeble garrisons — a few coats of 
mail supported by some archers ; the English believed 
that the feudal nobility of France, however brave they 
might be, would not be able, without an army, to win 

« Froissart, chap, cccxxiv., edit. Buchon. 


back their castles. Great was the surprise of the Eng- 
lish captains to find themselves, after an interval of a 
few years, assailed not only by a brilliant chivalry, but 
also by troops at once intrepid and disciplined in battle, 
obeying blindly the orders of their chief, having faith in 
his courage and his star, fighting with coolness, and pos- 
sessing the tenacity, the patience, and the experience of 
veteran soldiers*. At the close of the fourteenth cen- 

^ No strong place could resist Du Guesclin ; he knew how to carry his soldiers 
with him, and took nearly every town and castle by sudden attacks. He had 
discovered that the fortifications of bis time could not resist an attack conducted 
without hesitation, promptly and vigorously. He delivered the assault by throw- 
ing a great number of brave, well-armed soldiers, provided with fascines and 
ladders, upon a given point j supported them by numerous crossbows and archers, 
under cover, and thus, forming a column of attack of devoted men, he lost but few 
of his men, by acting with vigour and promptitude. At the siege of Guingamp : — 

" With trees and pieces of wood and branched bushes the bold assailants have 
filled the great moats ; in two places or more are the planks already laid. To the 
gates comes Bertrand the bold, and loud he cried, ' Guesclin ! now up with ye at 
once ! for I must be lodged therein.' And they set up ladders, like good men and 
bold; whereby you might see mounting these undaunted burghers carrying on 
their heads great doors, and shutters, and shields, for fear of the stones which they 
flung on them from within. They who were inside were afirighted, and be sure 
they could not shew themselves at the battlements, because of the arrows sent 
against them. The castellaiu had gone up upon the donjon and watched the attack 
of those brave burghers, who were so hot in the assault that they cared nothing 
for death." 

Du Guesclin employed no moving turrets, or other slow, costly, and difficult 
means of attack j he made use only of ofiensive engines ; he employed the mine 
and sap, and ever with the activity, the promptitude, the abundance of resources, 
and carefulness in minor details, which characterize great captains. 

He invests the donjon of Meulan: — 

" The castellain was still within his tower: so strong was the tower that he had 
no fear. Well were they provided with bread and salted meat, and good wine 

enough to keep them yet fifteen months or more Bertrand is gone to hold 

parley with the castellain, and he calls upon him to deliver up the tower, that it 
may be restored to the duke, whose deeds are worthy of so much praise. ' Ye,' 
says he, 'I will allow to depart in safety.' And the castellain answers, 'By the 
faith I owe St. Omer ! If ye would lodge ye in this tower, methinks ye will have 

to take a high flight in air.' Bertran du Guesclin had the tower strongly 

assailed ; but his assaults were of no effect j well were they provided to hold out 
for a long time. Then he made a mine, and the miners began their work, and he 
had them so guarded, that they could not be hurt ; and the miners pushed on their 
work, and had the earth carried away so that those in the tower could not see 
them. So well did they make their mine, that they soon were able to come under 



tury feudalism had played its part, military as well as 
political : its prestige was gone, and the troops which 
Charles VII. and Louis XI. possessed might be properly 
called regular armies. 

If we have dwelt at some length on this question, it 
is because we have deemed it necessary to shew the 
several transformations through which the art of war 
has successively passed, in order to be able to make 
the different systems of defence, which were succes- 
sively adopted from the tenth to the sixteenth century, 
better understood. It is needless to expatiate upon the 
arbitrary nature of the art of fortification, an art in 
which every other consideration should give way to 
the requirements of the defence ; and yet such was, the 
hold of the feudal traditions, that forms and arrange- 
ments were long preserved, so late indeed as the six- 
teenth century, which were nowise on a level with the 
new means of attack. It is especially to the fortifications 
of castles that this observation applies. Feudalism could 
not for a long time be induced to replace its high towers 
by low breastworks on an extended line ; with it, the 
great donjon of stone, massive and close, was always 
the sign of strength and domination. And thus we find 
the castle suddenly passing in the sixteenth century 
from the fortification of the middle ages to the manorial 

The same thing does not occur in the towns : as the 

the walls. Prom teneath the foundations they removed the earth, and had them 
sustained with many props, great and fair, strong and weighty, fixed thereunder. 
Then came the miners to Bortran, without stopping their work, and they said to 
Bertran, ' Sire, when you so shaU desire it we will make this tower to fell.' ' Then 
so I will it at once,' thus speaks Bertran : • for since those within wiU not obey it 
IS of right that they should die.' The miners have laid the fire within the mine 
each m his own portion, the timber being first weU smeai-ed with bacon-fat j and the 
moment it was fired, as the song says, the high tower feU down like a crown from 
the brow. ' {Chronicle of Bertmn cfe (hesclin, v. 3,956, and following verses ) 


natural consequence of their disasters, the gendarmerie 
of France lost by little and little their ascendancy. Un- 
disciplined, and ever placing feudal interests above the 
interests of the nation, they were reduced, during the 
wars of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, to the 
level of partisans, taking castles and towns by surprise, 
burning and pillaging them one day, and driven from 
them the next; holding now with one party and now 
with another, according as it suited the interest of the 
moment. But the corporations of the good towns^ who 
were unacquainted with warfare at the period of Edward 
the Third's conquests, had learned to fight ; better disci- 
plined, better armed, and braver than the gendarmerie, 
they formed, as early as the close of the fourteenth cen- 
tury, troops of whose tried valour the safeguard of im- 
portant posts could be confided ". Towards the middle 

' It was particularly during the fourteenth century that the corporations of 
archers and crosstiow-meu (arbaletriers) were regularly organized in the towns of 
the north. By an ordinance dated in the month of August, 1367, Charles V. 
establishes a company, or cormetdblie, of crossbow-men in the town of Laon. The 
King named Michauld de Laval constable for three years of this company. " There- 
after," says Article 1 of this ordinance, " the arbalestriers will elect every three 
years their constable by a majority of votes. Michauld de Laval, with the aid and 
counsel of five or six of the most experienced in the use of the crossbow, will choose 
the twenty-five arbalestriers who are to form the company. The arbalestriers will 
obey the constable in all that pertains to their duties, under a penalty of six sols." 
Article 2 decrees that " The king retains these arbalestriers in, his service ; and he 
places them under his safeguard." Then follow the articles which confer certain 
privileges on the company, such as their exemption from all imposts and taxes, with 
the exception of " the aide established for the ransom of King John." 

The same prince establishes a company of twenty arbaletriers at Compifegne. 

In the year 1359 the Corporation of Arbaletriers is established at Paris, to the 
number of two hundred j by an ordinance dated November 6, 1373, Charles V, 
fixes the number of these at eight hundred. These crossbow-men, who belonged tp 
the middle class, and did not make their profession, were not allowed to quit their 
corporation, either to serve in the army or elsewhere, without the authorization of 
the provost of Paris and of the provost of the merchants. When these magistrates 
took the arbaletriers to any service beyond the hanlievte of Paris, men and horses 
(for there were both horse and foot of them) were fed ; each man received besides 
three sols, and the constable five sols, per diem : the whole at the cost of the city. 

By letters patent of the 12th of June, 1411, Charles VI. ordained that a com. 


of this century cannon had been used both in pitched 
battles and sieges*. This new means of destruction 
was destined to change, and did change before long, the 
whole conditions of the attack and defence of strong 
places. At the commencement of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, the new artillery was still of little importance, 
but it assumes a great development towards the middle 
of this century : — 

"In France," says the illustrious author already quoted^ 
" the war of independence against the English had re-awakened 
the warlike genius of the nation, and not only the heroic Joan 
of Arc occupied herself with the direction of the artillery f, 
but two eminent men sprung from the ranks of the people, the 
brothers Bureau, gave their whole attention to the improve- 
ment of great guns and the conduct of sieges. They began by 
employing, although at first in small numbers, iron instead of 

pany of archers, composed of one hundred and twenty men, should be established 
at Paris ; that these one hundred and twenty should be chosen amongst the other 
archers then existing; and that this company should be specially charged to guard 
the person of the king and with the defence of the city of Paris. 

Charles VII., by letters patent of the 22nd of April, 1448, instituted the body of 
free-archers {francs-archers), to serve in time of war. For the formation of this 
privileged corps there were chosen in each pariah, robust and skilful men amongst 
the wealthier inhabitants, because those free-archers were obliged to equip them- 
selves at their own expense, or, in default, at the cost of the parish. The ratio of 
the contingent was about one man to fifty hearths. {Recherclies Hist, sitr les 
Corpor. des Archers, des Arbaletriers et des Arquebtisiers, par Victor Fouque, 
1852, Paris.) 

■I The English army had cannon at the battle of Crficy. From the year 1326, 
the city of Florence had cannons manufactured both of iron and metal. {Bibl. de 
VEcole des Chartes, — " Library of the School of Charts," — ^vol. vi. p. 50.) In 1339, 
two knights, the sires de Cardilhac and de Bieule, receive from the master of the 
arbaletriers of the town of Cambray, " ten cannons, five of iron and five of metal" 
(probably of wrought iron and cast metal), " the which were all made by the com- 
mandment of the said master of the arbaleatriers by our hands and by our people, 
and which are for the guard and defence of the town of Cambray. (Original parch- 
ment amongst the sealed title-deeds of ClairamhauU, vol. xxv., fol. 1,825 ; Sihl. de 
I'Ecole des Chartes, vol. vi. p. 61.) " For saltpetre and sulphur . . . purchased for 
the cannons at Cambray, eleven livres four sols and three deniers towmois." (Ibid.) 

' The Past and Future of Artillery, by L. Napoleon Bonaparte, vol. ii. p. 96. 

' Deposition of the Due d'Alen(5on, Michelet's Hist, of France, vol. v. p. 99. 


stone balls s, and by this means a projectile at the same weight 
occupying a smaller volume, a greater quantity of movement 
could be imparted to it, because the piece having a less 
calibre, offered a greater resistance to the explosion of the 

" This harder ball was not liable to fracture, and was able to 
penetrate masonry ; there was besides an advantage in increas- 
ing its velocity by diminishing its mass ; the bombards were 
lighter, although their effect was rendered more dangerous. 

" Instead of erecting bastilles all roimd the town ^, the be- 
siegers established before the great fortresses a park surrounded 
by an entrenchment, beyond the reach of cannon. From this 
point they conducted one or two branches of the trenches towards 
the points where they established their batteries ' . . . We have 
arrived at the moment when trenches were employed as a means 
of approach concurrently with covered ways of timber "^ 

' The trebuchets, pierriers, and mangonels threw stone balls : it was natural, 
when altering the mode of projection, to preserve the projectile. 

i" See the siege of Orleans in 1428. We shall return to the works executed by 
the English to batter the walls and blockade the town. 

' At the siege of Caen, in 1450 : " Thereafter they began on the side of Mon- 
seigneur the Constable to make covered and uncovered approaches, whereof le 
Bourgeois undertook the conduct of one and messire Jacques de Chabannes of the 
other ; but that of le Bourgeois was the first at the wall, and the other arrived 
afterwards, and the wall was mined at that place. Insomuch that the town would 
have been taken by assault, but for the king, who would not have it, nor would he 
send any bombards on that side, for fear the Bretons should make an assault." 
(Bist. d'Artus III., Duo de Bretaigne et Connest. de France, de nouveau mise en 
ImmUre, par T. Godefroy, 1622.) 

At the siege of Orleans, 1429 : " On Thursday, the third day of March, in the 
morning, the French sallied forth against the English, who were making at that 
time a trench to go under cover from their boulevard of Croix-Boissee to Saint 
Ladre d'Orleans, in order that the French could not see them, or do them hurt by 
means of cannons and bombards. This sally did great damage to the English, for 
nine of them were taken prisoners ; and besides there was killed maitre Jean by 
a double culveiin of five (conlevrine cmq a deux coups)." (Hist, et discowrs cfe 
siege qui fat mis devant la ville S Orleans. — Orleans, 1611.) 

' We cannot, however, admit that trenches were never employed as a means of 
approach before the artillery of great guns came into use. Philip Augustus, at the 
siege of Chateau-Gaillard, had regular trenches made in order to close with the 
works which he wished to attack first ; those trenches conducted his troops and 
his chats or timber galleries up to the counterscarp of the moat. Going still fur- 
ther back in the history of sieges, we find trenches indicated as means of approach 


To the brothers Bureau belongs the honour of having been the 
first to make a judicious use of artillery in sieges : all obstacles 
fell before theiUj the walls struck by their balls were incapable 
of resistance, and flew into fragments. The towns defended by 
the English, and which, at the time of their invasion, they had 
taken months to besiege, were carried in as many weeks. They 
had spent four months in besieging Harfleur in 1440 ; eight 
months in besieging Rouen in 1418 ; ten months in taking 
Cherbourg in 1418 ; whilst in 1450, the conquest of the whole 

to strong places. In the TloKiopKitTtiia, of Hero of Constantinople, written in the 
sixth century, and compiled in the tenth, we read this curious passage. A place 
situate on the top of the hill is to be attacked : " There is yet another means of 
preservation from the masses rolled from above. We must, beginning at the foot 
of the hill, dig oblique ditches, directing them upwards against a certain part of 
the walls : these ditches must have a depth of about five feet, and a wall built ver- 
tically on the left side of the same ditches, in such wise that the masses rolled down 
from above should strike against this wall, which serves as a fampaft and shield to 
the assailants. The labourers should fortily the portion of the ditch already dug, 
in the following manner : they shoilld take stakes of wood some three ells long, or 
trunks of young trees, and sharpen them at the lower extremity ; these they should 
drive into the ground, so as to oflFer resistance, on the left of the before-named wall 
which rises above the earth thrown from the ditch, and give them an oblique 
position ttS regards the slope of the hill ; they should then place planks externally 
against those stakes, and fasten all round branches of trees woven together 
(fascines) j finally, throwing up on this side all the materinls obtained in excavating, 
they should prepare straight roads for the ascent of the tortoises. These tortoises, 
seen in front, should be those they call spurs, that is to say, coming to an acute angle 
in front, and based on a triangle or pentagon, and constructed on this large base they 
narrow gradually upwards to the ridge which forms the top of the machine, so that 
they resemble in front the prows of ships set on the ground and resting one against 
another. They must be small and numerous, so that they can be prepared quickly 
and easily, and be carried by a few men. They should have at their base spikes of 
wood each a foot long, and iron nails instead of wheels, to the end that when placed 
on the ground they should be fixed, and not be carried backwards by a shock. Fur- 
ther, each of them should have at its front a piece of oblique wood, like that which 
chariots have at their fore-part, to arrest and keep it in its place when it might 
otherwise slide down the slope of the hill, especially when those who are pushing it 
forward up the slope are tired and want to rest a moment. Thus one of three 
things will come to pass j either the projectiles hurled from the top of the hill, 
falling into the ditch, will be turned into another direction, or, striking against 
the stakes obliquely inclined, they will be stopped in their course, or else impinging 
on the spur of the tortoise, they will be thrown either on one side or the other, and 
the intermediate space will be sheltered from their blows. ....." {Acad, des In- 

script. et Belles lettres : M4m. presentes par divers savants, 1'= s&-ie, torn. iv. ; 
Morceaux du texte grec inedit des TloKtopKriTMa d'Seron, de Comtantinople, puil. 
d'aprhs les manusc. d' Oxford, trad, de M Th. Henri Martin.) 


of Normandy, which it required sixty sieges to accomplish, was 
effected by Charles VII. in one year and six days '- 

" The moral effect produced by the artillery of great guns 
had become so great, that it was only necessary for them to be 
brought on the ground, to make a town surrender. 

" . . . . Let it be said, then, to the honour of the arm, that it is 
as much to the progress of artillery as to the heroism of Joan of 
Arc that France is indebted for having been enabled to throw 
off the yoke of the foreigner from 1428 to 1450. For the 
dread which the great had of the people and the dissensions 
of the nobles would perhaps have led to the ruin of France 
if the artillery, ably conducted, had not appeared to give a 
new strength to the royal power, and to furnish it with the 
means of driving out the enemies of France, and of destroying 
the castles of those feudal lords who did not acknowledge a 

" This period of history marks a new era. The English 
have been vanquished by the new guns, and the King, who has 
won back his throne by plebeian hands, finds himself for the 
first time at the head of troops who belong to himself alone. 
Charles VII., who at a former period borrowed from the towns 
the cannon wherewith to make his sieges, now possesses an 
artillery numerous enough to carry out attacks upon several 
places at the same time ; a fact which justly excites the ad- 
miration of his contemporaries. By the creation of companies 
of ordnance, and the establishment of free-archers, the King 
acquires a force of cavalry and infantry independent of the 
nobility. . . ." 

' " And siege was laid to Cherbourg. And my said lord encamped on one 

side, and Monseigneur Clermont on the other. And the Admiral de Coitivl and 
the Marshal and Joachim were on the other side, over against a gate. And the 
siege lasted a fuU mouth, and there were broken and injured nine or ten bombards, 
great and small. And the English came there by sea, amongst others a great ship 
called the ship Henry, and the mortality set in a little, and Monseigneur had much 
to suffer, for it was he who had the whole charge. Then he placed four bombards 
on the seaside, in the sands, when the tide had run out. And when the tide flowed 
in, all the bombards were covered, mantels and all, and they were all loaded, and so 
well covered up, that as soon as the tide had rua out again they had only to set the 
matches to them, to fire them as well as if they had been on dry land." {Rist. 
d'Artus III, p. 149.) 


The use of great guns in sieges would have as its first 
result the doing away everywhere with hoards and brat- 
tishes of wood, and the substitution for them of machi- 
colations and pierced parapets of stone, carried upon 
stone corbels projecting before the face of the walls. For 
the first, cannon appear to have been often used, not 
only for hurling round stones as bombs, like the engines 
which worked by counterpoise, but likewise for throwing 
small barrels containing an inflammable and detonating 
composition, such as the Greek fire described by Join- 
ville, and known to the Arabs from the twelfth century. 
At the end of the fourteenth and beginning of the fif- 
teenth century the artillery have already begun to throw 
balls, of stone, lead, or iron, horizontally ; they no longer 
confine the attack to the battlements and upper defences 
of the walls, but effect breaches at the base: the true 
siege battery is established. At the siege of Orleans, in 
1428, the English threw into the town, with their bom- 
bards, a large number of stone projectUes, which pass 
over the walls and crush the roofs of the houses. But, 
on the side of the French, we find an artillery who fire 
point-blank, causing great losses to the besiegers ; the 
Earl of Salisbury is killed by a cannon-ball, while 
observing the town through one of the windows of 
a turret"'. It is a man sprung from the people, a Lor- 

" " During the festival and service of Christmas they fired, on one side and the 
other, very horribly and incessantly, from bombards iind cannons; but specially 
there was one who did great damage, a culveriner, native of Lorraine, being then 
one of the garrison at Orleans, named Maitre Jean, who was reputed the best 
master of that art then known, and well he proved it ; for he had a great culverin 
which he fired m.any times, being then within the piers of the bridge, near to the 
boulevard de la Belle-Croix, so that he wounded and killed many of the English." 
{Hist, et Discoum, ifc. du SUge d' Orleans.) 

" This same day (the last but one of the month of February, 1429) the bombard 
of the city, then fixed near to the Chesnau postern, to fire against the turrets, shot 
so terribly against them, that it threw down a great piece of the wall." (Ibid.) 

" The French attacked the said castle of Harecuurt with an engine, and with tlie 


rainer called Maitre Jean, who directs the artillery of 
the town. 

To besiege the town, the English still follow the 
ancient plan of wooden bastilles and boulevards; they 
end by being themselves, in their turn, besieged by 
the men of Orleans, and they lose their bastilles one 
after the other, which are destroyed by the fire of the 
French artillery. Yigorously attacked, they are obliged 
to raise the siege, abandoning part of their materiel ; for 
the siege artillery, like all the engines then employed, 
had the inconvenience of being difficult of transport; 
nor was it until under the reigns of Charles VII. and 
Louis XI. that siege-pieces, as well as those used in the 
field, were mounted on wheels ; bombards, (great pieces, 
somewhat like mortars, used for throwing stone bullets 
of large diameter,) however, continued to be employed 
until during the latter years of the sixteenth century. 
We give (fig. 79) the representation of a double siege- 
gun provided with its mantelet of wood, intended to 
protect the piece and the gunners serving it against 
projectiles ; (fig. 80), the drawing of a double cannon, 
but with chambers fitting into the breech, and contain- 
ing the charge of powder and the ball". Beside the 

first shot they fired against it they pierced through and through the wall of the 
lower court-yard, which is very far, to the eguipolent of the castle, which is of 
great strength." (Alain Chartier, p. 162. Ann. 1449.) 

" Copied after vignettes of the manusc. of Froissart, 15th cent., Imperial 
Library (of Paris), No. 8,320, vol. i. The cannons (fig. 80) are shewn in the vig- 
nettes entitled " How the King of England laid siege to the city of Bains" (Rheims) 
. . . . " How the town of Duras was besieged and taken by assault by the French." 
These guns were at first made with bands of wrought iron joined together like the 
staves of a cask, and encircled by other cylindrical bands of iron. There still exists 
in the court-yard of the arsenal of Bale a fine piece of ordnance so made, very 
carefully wrought ; its length is 8 feet 11 inches, and it takes a ball of stone 
12,Sj'j inches in diameter. The breech is forged in » single piece and contains a 
chamber of a less calibre than the bore. When the pieces were of small calibre, 
they were either wrought or cast, of iron or copper. 



piece are other ctLambers of a similar kind, of wMch one, 
C, is furnished with a handle (see at the Artillery 
Museum (of Paris) guns furnished with this kind of 
chamber); (fig, 82), the drawing of a boxed cannon 
mounted on a carriage, with notched quadrant, for point- 
ing the piece. The balls of this last cannon are of 

rig. 79. A Dou"ble Cannon Wifh the Wooden Shield or Mantelet. 
Fig. 80. A Double Cannon "with the Chamber for Powder. 

C. A Chamber with a handle. 
ri|. 81. A Cannon mounted on a Carriage -With a Quadrant. 

stone, whilst those of the double cannons are of metal. 
The piece was fired by applying a metal bar made red- 
hot in the furnace to the powder contained in the 
chamber. The ranging of these pieces in battery, the 


loading of them, — especially wten after each, discharge 
the boxes or chambers had to be changed, — the means 
required for applying the fire, all this required much 
time. At the commencement of the fifteenth century 
the cannons of large calibre used in sieges "were not 
sufficiently numerous ; the great difficulty attending their 
transport did not allow of their being discharged with 
sufficient frequency to produce prompt and decisive ef- 
fects in the attack of strong places. It was necessary to 
have, in order to keep the defenders from the battle- 
ments, numerous bodies of archers and crossbow-men; 
of archers more particularly, who had, as we have al- 


Pig. 82. An Arclier with, his Sheaf of Arrowa 

ready mentioned, a great superiority over the crossbows 
by reason of the rapidity of their fire. Each archer 
(fig. 82) was furnished with a leathern bag containing: 



two or three dozen arrows. While in action, he laid his 
bag on the ground, open, and kept under his left foot 

Fig. 83. An Archer firing downwards. 

some arrows, the points towards his left ; thus, without 
seeing, he could feel them and could take them up one 
by one without losing sight of his aim (an important 

Fig. 84. A Crosatow-man with his Shield on his haok, taJdng aim. 
From a MS. of Froissart. 

point for a marksman). A good archer could shoot ten 
arrows per minute ; whilst a crossbow-man in the same 



space of time could shoot only two bolts (figs. 84, 85). 
As he was obliged to fit the gaSLe (fig. 86) or handle 
to his arm after every shot, in order to bend his bow, he 
not only lost much time, but he also lost sight of the 
movements of the enemy, and was obliged, every time 
his crossbow was strung, to seek his object out and 
take fresh aim ". 

Fig. 85 A Cross bow-man fitting the 
handle, from a MS. 

rig. 86. The Cranequin, or Handle 
of the Cross'bo'W. 

When the new artillery was sufficiently well mounted, 
and could be used in such force as to enable the be- 
siegers to breach the walls from a distance, the ancient 
system of defence became so inferior to the means of 
attack that it was found necessary to subject it to im- 

° These figures aie taken from the mannscript of Froissart already quoted. 
One of the crossbow-men (fig. 84) is what was termed pwoaise, that is to say, he 
bears on his back a large pavois, or shield, attached to a thong ; whilst in the act 
of turning to prepare his piece, he was thus sheltered from the enemy's fire. The 
iron ring fixed to the bottom of the crossbow served as a stirrup for the foot when 
using the gaffle to boud the bow (fig. 85). 


portant modifications. The ancient towers, covered for 
the most part with roofs of small diameter, and vaulted 
commonly in a slight way, were not adapted for receiv- 
ing cannon; by removing the roofs and forming plat- 
forms instead (an operation frequently performed in the 
middle of the fifteenth century), it was possible to place 
one or two pieces at the top ; but these could inflict no 
great damage on the assailants, as their plunging fire 
could strike only at one point. Their position had to be 
constantly altered, in order to follow the movements of 
the attack, and their recoil frequently shook the walls to 
such a degree as to make them more dangerous to the 
besieged than to the besiegers. On the curtain-walls, 
the parapets, which were only some two yards in width 
at the utmost, could not receive cannon ; to remedy this, 
the ground was filled up on the inside to the level of 
the parapet, where guns were to be fixed and placed in 
battery ; but still the curtains were so high that the fire 
was oblique and did not produce a great effect. While 
still continuing, therefore, to place artillery on the sum- 
mits of the defences, embrasures were opened, wherever 
practicable, in the lower stories of the towers, on a level 
with the top of the counter-scarp of the ditches, in order 
to obtain a horizontal fire, to be able to send projectiles 
en ricochet, and to force the assailants to begin their ap- 
proaches at a great distance and to sink their trenches to 
a considerable depth. Under Charles VII., in fact, many 
castles and towns had been successfully carried by sudden 
attacks. Guns were brought up at once to the walls, 
without any cover or trench, and before the besieged had 
time to place the few bombards and rihaudequtns^, with 
which the towers were armed, in battery, the breach was 

p Siicmdequin, a kind of huge crossbow, fifteen feet in length, for throwing 
darts five feet long. 


made and the town taken. But all towers were not 
equally susceptible of the modifications required before 
making use of artillery in defence ; some were of an in- 
ternal diameter which did not admit of receiving pieces 
of ordnance, nor could they always be introduced through 
the winding corridors and staircases of these buildings ; 
and even when fixed, after two or three shots, there was 
a risk of being smothered by the smoke, which had no 
means of escaping. In the places which were fortified 
towards the middle of the fifteenth century, we can per- 
ceive that the new artillery has begun to engage the 
attention of the architects ; they do not as yet abandon 
the ancient system of curtains with flanking towers, a 
system consecrated by long custom ; but they modify it 
in the details, they extend the line of external defences, 
and no longer place cannon at the summits of their 
towers. Eeserving these crest-works for close defence, 
they furnish the lower parts of the fortifications with 

The study of this transition is very interesting : it is 
rapid because of the improvements introduced into the 
attack of strong places, which forced the constructors to 
modify, from day to day, their defensive measures. We 
possess few complete military structures which have pre- 
served intact the arrangements made in the time of 
Charles VII. for resisting an artillery, already of for- 
midable strength. There is one, however, which we 
shall give here, as well on account of its state of pre- 
servation, as because it was erected as a whole in its 
present form, and because its system of defence is carried 
out methodically in all its parts : this is the castle of 
Bonaguil. Situate at a distance of a few leagues from 
Villeneuve d'Agen, this castle is built upon a spur or 
bluff commanding a defile ; its site is that of all feudal 



castles of any importance ; surrounded by precipices, it is 
only accessible from one side (fig. 87«), at A. A draw- 
bridge gives access to an advanced work wbicb the con- 
structors have been at great pains to flank effectually* 
At is a place-cParmes, and at E were probably the 
stables. A wide ditch separates this advanced work 
from the castle, which is entered by a second draw- 

fig. 87 PI n of the Castle of Bonaguil. 

A. Outer Drawbridge. 

B. Second Drawbridge. 

C. Gate. 

D. Staircase. 

E. F, G, H. Gates. 

J. Winding Stairs. 
K. Drawbridge. 
L. Roui'd Tower. 
M. Platform. 
N. TlieMoat.. 

O. Parade-ground. 
PP. Tbe Barracks. 
R. The Scabies. 
S. Outwork. 

bridge, B, and a gateway with postern,' C. A donjon, E, 
of unusual form, commands the outside and the out- 
work, 0. At P are placed the dwelling apartments, 
reached by a fine spiral staircase, J. D is the staircase 

"> This plan is drawn to the scale of ,^, which is the scale of the plans of the 
castles of Montargis and Coucy, already given. 


leading to the entrance (which, is on a higher level than 
the ground) of the donjon, E. At S is a work separated 
from the castle by the donjon. When the drawbridges 
were raised, the castle could be entered only by pass- 
ing through the gate, F, pierced in the wall of counter- 
guard ; by following the bed of the moat, N ; then pass- 
ing through a second gate, G, in the centre of a traverse, 
and a third gate, H, opening upon a fine platform, M; 
taking the staircase, I, and passing over a smaller draw- 
bridge, K. There we come upon a wide and handsome 
staircase, communicating with the internal staircase, J, 
only by a dark and narrow corridor, loopholed on both 
sides. The great staircase stops at the level of the 
ground-floor (at a height of some feet above the ground) 
of the internal court; the upper portion forms a great 
square tower. We here find all the precautions which 
were taken in the ancient feudal castles to mask the 
entrances and render them difiicult of access. But ar- 
rangements, then quite novel in their character, were 
made for modifying the ancient defensive system ; firstly, 
the advanced work, with the platform M, form con- 
siderable salients or projecting parts, which command 
the outside to some distance ; then, at the level of the 
counterscarp of the ditches, or that of the top of the 
walls of counterguard, embrasures are pierced in the 
ground-story of the curtains and towers, to receive 
cannon; and the towers are almost detached to flank 
the curtains more effectually. If we may judge from the 
doorways opening into the towers, the pieces placed in 
battery could not be of large calibre. All the crest- 
works are provided with battlements and machicolations ; 
but the merlons of the parapets, still standing, are 
pierced with loops of such an arrangement as to indicate 
clearly the use of ordnance. Subjoined (fig. 88) is a 




view of this castle taken from the side of the entrance*^. 
We see in this view that these embrasures which are 
intended for artillery are pierced in the lower stories of 
the buildings, that they follow the declivities of the 

Fig. 88. Bird's-eye view of the Castle ofBonaguil. 

ground, or are made to command the works in front. 
As for the crest-works of the towers, they are the same 
as those adopted in the fourteenth century. The transi- 

' We have only added in this view the timber-work, which no longer exists ; the 
masonry remains almost intact. 



tion is thus evident, and might be summed up in the 
following formula : — To command the outside parts at 
a distance and the approaches, by a horizontal fire of ar- 
tillery, and to provide against escalade by works of a great 
elevation with crest-works, according to the ancient system 
for close defence. 

The embrasures for cannon in the castle of Bonaguil 
are thus constructed. A gives the plan of one of them ; 
B, the internal opening ; C, the port-hole on the outside. 
There is only room for the passage of the ball, with a 
sighting loop over (fig. 89). 

Fig 89. Embrasure of the Castle of Bonaguil. 
C Exterior. A. Plan. B. Interior. 

These different improvements, however, were still not 
adequate to meet the means of attack. The divergent 
fire of a few pieces at the foot of the towers and curtains 
tendered their effect almost insensible upon siege bat- 
teries composed of several pieces brought together at a 
single point. While the defenders were sending one 
ball, they received twenty ; the works of defence were 
riddled with shot concentrated upon a single point, and 
fell in ruins before their cannon could inflict any sensible 
damage upon the besiegers. When this insufficiency on 
the part of the ancient system of fortification was clearly 


proved, engineers acted as tlie men of those time's always 
did, — they applied the remedy where they saw the evil ; 
the ancient system was preserved, but the constructors 
endeavoured to give their works a greater force of resist- 
ance. They began, first, by modifying the towers, which 
they built of less height and of a much greater diameter, 
giving them more and ihore external projection; aban- 
doning the ancient system of isolated defences, they left, 
the towers open on the inside in order to be able to 
introduce cannon with greater facility ; they pierced them 
with more numerous lateral embrasures, below the leveil, 
of the crest of the ditches, and enfilading these along 
their whole length ; the lower stories were reserved for 
flanking the curtains at the moment the enemy appeared 
upon the ditch, and the upper stories for commanding 
the outlying parts as far as possible. 

The fortifications of the town of Langres are a very 
interesting study, viewed in relation to the modifications 
introduced in the defence of places during the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries (fig. 90)^ Langres is a Koman 
town; the portion. A, of the town was added at the 
commencement of the sixteenth century, to the ancient 
Eoman enclosure, of which there remains a gateway still 
in a good state of preservation; the walls of Langres, 
after having undergone successive modifications, were al- 
most entirely rebuilt under Louis XL and Francis I., and 
further strengthened with defences erected according ta 
the system adopted in the sixteenth century and at the 
beginning of the seventeenth. It was the introduction, 
of ordnance which led to the erection of the towers C,; 
in order to flank the curtains by means of two parallel 
walls terminating in a semicircle. The town of Langres 

» This plan is taken from the TopograpJiie He la Gawle, Frankfort edition, 1655. 
The greater part of these fortifications still exist. 



is built up5n a p]§teau wMcli commands the course of 
the Marne 9,nd all the surrounding country: on one 

Fig. 90. Plan of the Walla of the To-wn of Langrea. 
A. Fart added. B. Cross Wall. C C. Flanking Towers. D. Outwork, 

£. Second Gate. 

F. Third Gate. 

side only, D, it can be approached from the level, and 
on this side we find that an advanced work had been 
thrown up in the sixteenth century*. At E was a second 
gateway, well defended by a massive round tower (or 
boulevard) with two covered batteries placed within two 
chambers, the vaulting of which rests upon a central 
cylindrical pillar ; in another tower on the opposite side 
is a spiral ramp, or inclined way, for the purpose of 
getting up cannon to the platform which crowns the 
great tower ; at F a third gate opening on the Marne, 
protected by earth-works dating from the close of the 
sixteenth century. We give (fig. 91) the plan of the 

' The advanced work shewn upon this plan has been replaced by an important 
modern defence, which spans the road from Dijon. 



ground-floor of tlie great tower or boulevard defending 
the gateway, E ; (fig. 92) the plan of the first story of 

Pig. 91. Ground-plan of the Great Tower, LangrSs. 

the same. If we examine the second plan, we find that 
the embrasures for cannon are so arranged as to enfilade 

Fi J. 92. Han oi' the First Story. 

the curtains. Fig. 93 gives the section of this boule- 
vard, at the summit of which a barhette battery could be 
established. We subjoin (fig. 94) the plan of one of the 
towers of the fortifications at Langres, the erection of 
which, as well as that of the boulevard, dates from the 
beginning of the sixteenth century. This tower, built 
upon a rapid incline, is a true bastion, capable of receiv- 
ing on each story five cannon. We descend successively 
four flights of steps from the point C, opening into the 
town to the point E. The embrasures, E, F, G, are 



stepped to follow the inclination of the site, so as to be 
all placed at the same elevation above the ground out- 

Fi^. 93. Section of the To-wer, Lanlres. 

side. Cannon could be easily moved up or down the 
several flights of steps, which are wide and not steep ; 

Fig. 94, Plan of one of the Bastions of Langres, Fifteenth Century. 

A B. Line of the Section, Ak. 96. CD. Line of the Siction, fig. 95. 

E. Highest level towards the Town. F F, G G. Embrasures. 

H H. ■Vent-holes. 1 1. Small Closets. 

the walls are thick (about 21 feet) in order to resist 
the artillery of the besiegers. The first bay (or divi- 
sion), the walls of which are parallel, is sustained by 
four vaults resting upon a single column ; an archway 
connecting the two ends of a partition- wall divides the 



first bay from the second, whicli has a, quarter-sphere 
vault (see the longitudinal section (fig. 95) on the line 



Fig. 96. Geotion of the Baaticn on the line C D of the Plan, fig. 94. 

Fig. 96. Section of the Bastion on the line A B of the Plan, fig. 94. 

C D, and the transverse section (fig. 96) on the line 
A B of the plan). The embrasures, F, G (fig. 94), were 
closed by shutters on the inside. Vent-holes, H, allowed 
the smoke to escape from the interior of the chamber. 
Two small closets, I, were probably powder-magazines. 
This tower was crowned originally by a platform and 
a pierced parapet, behind which other pieces of ord- 
nance might be placed, and harquebus-men : these upper 
portions have been long altered. The barbette battery 
overtops the crest of the parapet of the adjoining cur- 
tains by about a yard, and offers thus another example 
of the influence of mediseval traditions; according to 


which, the towers should always command the curtains". 
This uncertainty and vacillation during the first period 
of the use of artillery led to the adoption of a great 
variety of different arrangements, all of which it is im- 
possible we can give. But it maybe well to observe 
that the system of fortification so well established ifrom, 
1300 to 1400, and so methodically combined, was sud- 
denly deranged by the intervention of artillery in sieges, 
and that the new course of experiments commences with 
the latter of these dates, to close only as late as the 
seventeenth century. Such was the hold of the feudal 
traditions on military engineers that they could not 
break suddenly with them, but continued subject to 
their influence long after the inconveniences attached to 
the mediaeval system of fortification, as opposed to ar- 
tillery, had been discovered. It is thus we find, even as 
late as the sixteenth century, machicolations employed 
concurrently with covered batteries, although machico- 
lations were useless as a defence against cannon. So, 
from the time of Charles VIII, to that of Francis I., 
the towns and castles cannot hold out against armies 
provided with artillery, and history during this period 
offers no examples of those prolonged sieges, which are 
so frequent during the twelfth, thirteenth, and four, 
teenth centuries. They did the best they could to 
adapt the ancient fortifications to the new modes of 
attack and defence; either by allowing the ancient 
walls to remain behind new works, or by doing away 
with the weak portions of the former, as at Langres, in 
order to replace them by massive round or square towers 
furnished with artillery. At the end of the fifteenth 

" This tower is at present called La tow dn Mmrche (Market-tower). We 
give the only story which is nreserved,-thr lower one.- The plan is drawn to a 
scale of ,^g full size. 


century, engineers appear to have sought to cover their 
pieces of ordnance ; they place them on the ground- story 
of towers in covered batteries, reserving the crest- works 
of towers and curtains for archers, crossbows, and harque- 
bus-men. There are still in existence a large number 
of towers having this arrangement ; without speaking of 
that at Langres, which we have given (figs. 94, 95, 96), 
but the crest- works of which, now destroyed, cannot be 
cited as an example, here is a square tower attached to 
the defence (of great antiquity) of Puy-Saint-Front at 
Perigueux, and which was reconstructed to take the 
cannon on the ground-floor level ^, intended to command 
the river, the river-bank, and one of the two curtains. 
The ground-floor, which is but small, of this tower 

(fig. 97) is pierced with 
». — t — 1 — 5 — i — ,5" ^m foyj. embrasures intended 

fJH^H ^^^k ^'^^ ^^ many small pieces of 

^^^^^ '^^^^^ artillery, without reckon- 

|B ■■iHM^ ing a loophole at the salient 

l^^jjj^Mr-^^^U angle, on the side oppo- 

^^^iHl^^^^mi^^ site the river. Two can- 

"'^'^^^^^stms'^^^B:.-.'^- nous only (having to be 

Fig. 97. Plan of a Tower at Perigueux. j^^yed frOm plaCC tO plaCe 

according to the requirements of the defence) could be 
contained in this low battery, which was covered by 
a massive barrel-vault in masonry, and proof against 
solid projectiles thrown as bombs. The embrasures 
for cannon (fig. 98) are pierced horizontally, leaving 
just space enough for the passage of the ball ; a hori- 
zontal slit, over the embrasures, facilitates the pointing 
of the piece and allows the smoke to escape. A straight 
stair leads to the first story, which is pierced only with 

* The adjoining curtains belong to the thirteenth century. 



loops for crossbows and harquebuses, and tbe crest- 
work consists of a machicolation with continuous pa- 

S 1 .-17. 

Fift. 98- Vie-w of the To-wer at Perigueux. 

rapet without crenelles, but pierced with round holes 
to take the barrels of small culverios or hand-harque- 
buses. As a defence this work was feeble, and it was 
easy for an enemy to place himself in such a position as 
to be out of the reach of its fire. It was soon found, 
firstly, that those covered batteries, fixed within small 
chambers, and the embrasures for which covered only an 
acute angle, could not dismount siege-batteries, and 
inflicted no serious damage on the assailants; and, 
secondly, that it was necessary to adopt a general sys- 
tem of flanked defences appropriate to the new mode of 


attack. Amongst the attempts which were made at the 
end of the fifteenth century, and the beginning of the 
sixteenth, to place the defence of strong places on a level 
with the attack, we must not omit to mention the fine 
fortress of Schaffhausen, which offers a perfect system 
of works very remarkable for the period, and still at 
the present day in a complete state of preservation. In 
order, however, to estimate justly the importance of this 
fortification, it is necessary to take its site into account. 
Issuing from the Lake of Constance, the Ehine flows 
past Stein, westward ; and when it reaches Schaffhausen 
makes a sudden bend to the south as far as Kaiserstuhl. 
This bend is caused by some high rocky hills which 
presented an obstacle to the flow of the river, forcing it 
to change its course. Stein, Schaffhausen and Kaiser- 
stuhl form the three angles of an equilateral triangle, of 
which Schaffhausen is the apex. It was, therefore, highly 
important to fortify this advanced point, the frontier of 
a state, and more especially as the left bank of the river, 
(that which is within the triangle) is commanded by 
the hills on the right bank to which we have alluded as 
offering an insurmountable barrier to the course of the 
river. In case of invasion the enemy would not fail to 
occupy the two sides of the triangle and attempt the 
passage of the river at the point where it makes the 
bend. So much being premised, what the Swiss did was 
this : they constructed a bridge uniting the two banks of 
the Ehine, and the two parts into which the town of 
Schaffhausen is divided; and on the right bank they 
planted a vast fortress commanding the river, connecting 
the citadel so built with the Ehine by two walls and 
some towers. Those two walls form a vast triangle, a 
kind of tete-de-pont, commanded by the fortress. We 
give (fig. 99) the general aspect of this fortification, which 



we will proceed to study in its details. The citadel, or 
rather the great boulevard which crowns the hill, has 

p. H I N 

Fii. 99. Fortifications of the Bridge over the Rhine at Soha£fhausen. 

three heights of batteries, two covered and one open 
to the sky. The lowermost battery is placed a little 
above the bottom of the ditch, which is of great depth ; 
we give the plan (fig. 100). The pentagonal chemin-de- 
ronde, A, is reached by a spiral ramp (or inclined way), B, 
of an easy incline, allowing the bringing up of cannon. 
At each of the angles of this chemin-de-ronde, which is 
about six feet six inches wide, are oblique embrasures 
for artillery commanding the ditch; in advance of the 
sides of the polygon are placed three small detached 
works, acting somewhat as bastions, of which (fig. 101) we 
give the perspective elevation. Supposing the besieging 
force to have succeeded in destroying one of those bastions 
by means of a breach battery placed on the counterscarp 
of the ditch (for the top of these bastions is no higher 
than the crest of the counterscarp, and they are com- 
pletely masked from the outside), he would not have 
penetrated into the place; not only are those bastions 
detached, and with no communication except with the 
ditch, but they are armed with embrasures, C, for can- 



non at the gorges of the main work, pierced in the 
chemin-de-ronde (fig. 100), and their destruction would 


Fig. 100. Plan of fhe Citadel of Sohaffhausen. 
A A. Chemin-de-ronde. BB. Spiral Ascent. CC. Embrasures. 

only serve to unmask these batteries. The bastions, 
built entirely of stone, are covered with cupolas having 
conical lanterns pierced with vent-holes to allow the smoke 
of the pieces to escape. The first story (fig. 102), which 
is reached by the same gentle spiral incline, B, in this 
case supported on four columns rising from the ground, 
shews, on the outside, a plan perfectly circular in form, 
the tower containing the inclined way being the only 
part projecting beyond the circle, on the side next the 



river. Towards the opposite point, at E, is a flying- 
bridge crossing the ditch ; and on this side the architect 
has thought proper to strengthen his work by an enor- 
mous mass of solid masonry ; not without reason, as it is 
only at this point that the fortress could be breached from 
the neighbouring heights. On the right of the boulevard. 

Fi^. 101. Perspective View o!f one of the Bastions, Sotiaffhausen. 

higher up the river, at a point where an attack might 
also be attempted, is a easemated battery, F, separated 
from the principal hall by a thick wall of masonry. A 



breacli made at G would not, therefore, admit the enemy 
within the works. H is an immense chamber, the point- 
ed vaulting of which is supported on four massive cylin- 
drical pillars. Four embrasures open out of this chamber, 

Fig. 102. Plan of the first Story of the Bnstion, Sohaffhausen. 

B. Spiral ascent. 

E. Flying Bridge. 

F. Casemated Battery, 

G. Outer Wall. 

H. Vaulted Chamber, or Great K K. Small Spiral Staircases. 

Hall. M M. Open Lunettes. 

I. A Well. N O. Curtain Walls. 

two flanking the two curtains which run down to the 
river, and two within the triangle. Besides the vent- 



holes pierced over each of the embrasures, four large 
lunettes, M, nearly three yards in diameter, are left open 
in the vaulting of the great chamber, for the purpose of 
affording light and air, and of allowing the smoke of the 
powder more rapidly to escape. At I is a well, and at 
K two small spiral stairs, communicating with the upper 
platform, for the use of the garrison. Close to the ramp 
is a third spiral stair ascending from the bottom. We 
give below (fig. 103) one of the embrasures of the great 
chamber, ingeniously planned to allow pieces of small 


Fig. 103. Plan and Section of one of the Embrasures of the Great Hall. 

calibre to fire in every direction without unmasking 
either those pieces or the men who served them. Fig. 
104 is the plan of the upper story, or platform, the para- 



pet of "wMch. is pierced with ten embrasures for cannon, 
and lias four bartizans flanking the circumference of the 
fortress, having horizontal and descending loopholes, 
whereat to post arquebusiers. It will be seen that the 
two first embrasures to right and left command the in- 
terior of the triangle, and flank the tower which contains 
the ramp and which serves as a donjon and watch-tower 
for the whole work. The four lunettes, M, the well, I, 
and the small staircases for the use of the garrison, are 
repeated on this plan. The waters of the platform 
are carried off through ten gurgoyles placed under the 
embrasures. At 'N, 0, (fig. 102,) are the two curtains 
which go down to the river. That marked N, up the 
river, is more strongly defended than the other; under 
the arches which carry the parapet and the wooden 

Fig. 104. Plan of the Platform of the To-wer. SohafEhausen. 
M M M M Open Lunettes. I. The Well. 

hoarding, still remaining in its original position, are 
pierced embrasures which command the slopes of the hill 
on the side where an enemy could present himself; the 
other side being defended by the walls of the faubourg 
of Schaffhausen. In order to give a clear notion of this 


fine fortress, as a whole, we give a view (fig. 105) taken 
within the triangle formed by the two curtains running 
down to the river. Here we see that the curtain, N, 
(the one which lies higher up the river) is flanked by a 
lofty square tower. We have restored the tower, which 
formerly stood at the head of the bridge, but is now de- 
stroyed. Of the works which surrounded this, there 
remains at present but a few traces. The ancient bridge 
has been replaced by a modern one. As regards the 
principal body of the fortress, the curtains, ditches, &c., 
nothing has been added to it, or taken from it, since 
the sixteenth century. The masonry is rude, but excel- 
lent, and has undergone no change. The vaults over the 
great hall are thick, well executed, and appear still to 
be bomb-proof. 

This defence at Schaffhausen has a great aspect of 
power, nor have we preserved any work of the same 
period in France which is at once so complete and so 
ably planned. For the time at which it was erected, the 
flanking arrangements are very good, and the plan of 
the ground-story, on a level with the bottom of the ditch, 
is really set out in a quite remarkable manner. If we 
still find there the trace of the traditions of a fortification 
anterior to the use of ordnance, it must be allowed that 
the efforts made to get rid of these are very apparent, 
and the fortress of Schaffhausen appears to us to be 
superior to analogous works executed at the same pe- 
riod in Italy, which lays claim to having been the first 
to make use of the bastion. 

It was not possible, however, to execute everywhere 
works of such importance or completeness. The object 
aimed at was rather the amelioration of the ancient de- 
fences, than their demolition to give place to new forti- 
fications. In order to effect such sweeping changes, it 



Fig 106. Bird's-eye "View of SohafThausen 


■would have been necessary for the engineers to have 
had at their disposal some fixed system, the goodness 
of which had been sanctioned by a long course of ex- 
perience ; but so far from that being the case, they pro- 
ceeded only by a series of experiments, each engineer 
bringing forward his own observations and endeavouring 
to reduce them to practice. It is a striking fact that, 
after the wars of Italy, the French and Germans, having 
discovered that the Italian fortresses were narrow, cir- 
cumscribed, and encumbered with defences which were 
rather in each other's way than of any mutual assist- 
ance, adopted in their new defences arraugements com- 
paratively extensive in character, and endeavoured to 
fortify the outlying parts by boulevards of considerable 
diameter. In ordinary cases, and when the question was 
not so much to construct de novo, as to ameliorate for- 
tifications already existing, while allowing the ancient 
system of defences to remain for the purpose of receiving 
bodies of archers, crossbow-men and arquebusiers, it was 
customary to erect fausses braies wherein batteries for 
horizontal fire could be planted, and which took the 
place of the lists which have been referred to in the 
course of this work. In pressing cases, the ancient walls 
and towers of the lists and the barbicans were simply 
taken down to the level of the parapet walk, and then 
crowned with embrasured parapets capable of receiving 
barbette batteries (fig. 106), The towers were looked 
upon so much in the light of an indispensable defence, 
and it was considered of so much importance to be able 
to command the open country, that they continued to be 
erected even after the use oi fausses braies, arranged so 
as to flank the curtains, had been admitted. At first 
these fausses braies were given the same form, in plan, 
as had been given to the palisades, that is to say, they 



followed very closely the contour of the walls ; but they 
were soon converted into flanked works. The town 

rig. 106. View of a Battery, StfhafOiausen. 

of Orange was fortified anew under Louis XI., and 
already, at that period, the configuration of its defences 
was of this nature, (fig. 107). By means of these modi- 
fications, strong places were put into a state to resist 
artillery : this arm, however, was meanwhile undergoing 
rapid improvement. Louis XI. and Charles VIII. pos- 
sessed a formidable artillery : the art of siege-warfare 
became every day more and more methodical ; engineers 
had adopted the system of regular approaches ; they had 
begun, when a fortified place could not be taken by 
sudden assault, to make trenches, to lay down parallels, 
and establish true siege-batteries, well gabioned. The 
old walls of the ancient defences being higher than the 
crests of the revetments of the ditches, offered an easy 
mark to the point-blank fire of the siege-batteries, and 
they could from a considerable distance destroy those 
uncovered works and eff'ect a breach. In order to re- 
medy this defect, the outsides of the ditches were far- 



nished with palisades or parapets of masonry or timber, 
with earth- works and a first or external ditch; this 

Fig. 107. View of part of the Fortifioationa of the To-wn of Orange. 

work, which took the place of the ancient lists, pre- 
served the name of hraie (fig. 108). Outside the gates 
posterns and outworks were established, and earth-works, 
sustained by pieces of timber, were thrown up and were 
still named houlevert hastille, or hastide. The descrip- 
tion of the fortification of Nuys, which was besieged by 
Charles the Bold in 1474, explains perfectly the method 
employed for resisting attacks ^ : — 

y We borrow this passage from the " Historical Essay on the Influence of Fire- 
arms on the Art of War," by Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, President of the 
Eepublic, p. 103. (Extr. from the Chronicle of Molinet, vol. v. ch. cclxxxiii. p. 42.) 



" In like manner was Nuysse notably towered with free-stone, 
powerfully walled with works of exceeding strength, height, 
and thickness, and strengthened by strong braiesses, subtly 
constructed with stone and brick, and in divers places of 

Fi^. 108. Section of a Parapet at Orange, cai^d a B a'e. 

earth wholly, adapted for defence by admirable artifices for re- 
pelling assailants, between which and the said walls there were 
certain ditches of no little depth, and in addition, before the 
said brayes, were other great ditches of an exceeding depth, 
whereof some were crested and filled with water to a great 
width, the which bathed the town and its forts as far as the 
river. Four principal gates of a like kind, together, and divers 
posterns and salients, embellished and fortified greatly the said 
enclosure ; for every of them had in front its boulevert in the 
manner of a bastillon, great, strong, and defensible, furnished 
with all instruments of war, and sovereignly with great guns 
for powder^." 

In this description we find the bastion standing clearly 
out as an important accessory of the defence, to fortify 
the salients, posterns and gates, and enfilade the ditches ; 
and to take the place of the towers and barbicans of the 
lists in ancient fortifications, of the ancient detached 

" "... traicts il poudre il pliintfi." 


bastilles, and of the defensive works outside the gates. 
In a little while this accessory, the importance of which 
was already seen, takes a principal place, and becomes 
at last the leading feature of modern fortification. 

While they preserved, in the fortresses which were 
erected towards the close of the fifteenth century, the 
towers and curtains of the internal works, commanding 
a wide extent of country by their great elevation, which 
towers and curtains they further crowned with machi- 
colations, they increased the thickness of the masonry, 
so as to render it capable of resisting siege-artillery, as 
we have shewn in the plans of the towers and boulevards 
of Langres and Schaffhausen. When the Constable of 
Saiat Pol had the castle of Ham rebuilt in 1470, he not 
only thought it necessary to provide this fortress with 
advanced works and walls of counter-guard, but he had 
the towers and curtains, and more especially the great 
tower or donjon, built of such a thickness that those 
structures are still able to resist, during a considerable 
time, the force of modern artillery. 

Up to the period at which we have arrived, it was in 
the details of the defence, the form and situation of the 
towers and curtains, that modifications had been intro- 
duced, with the view of meeting the new requirements ; 
but the mode of construction in fortified works had 
undergone no change since the eleventh century. This 
consisted uniformly of two wall-faces of cut stone, brick, 
or rubble, enclosing a body or core of irregular rubble 
or stone concrete. Opposed to the sap or the ram, this 
sort of construction was good, for the pioneers found it 
more difficult to dislodge a mass of rubble, when the 
stone and mortar of which it was composed were hard 
and adhesive, than a structure built of regular masonry 
throughout ; which, when a few stones came to be dis- 


placed, easily fell to pieces ; regular masonry never pre- 
serving the homogeneity of well-built rubble-work. This 
kind of structure, therefore, resisted the shocks of the 
battering-ram more effectually than would a body of 
ashlar- work; but when pieces. of ordnance came to re- 
place the engines and instruments of destruction which 
had been employed in the middle ages, it was soon dis- 
covered that the stone revetments of these works, which 
were ordinarily from twelve to twenty inches in thick- 
ness, were readily shaken by the impact of iron balls ; 
that they became detached from the internal core and 
left it exposed to the full effect of the fire, and that the 
stone merlons ", when struck by cannon-balls, were shat- 
tered into fragments, and became themselves a means of 
destruction more deadly than the balls themselves. The 
architects of those works of defence, in order to prevent 
the shaking of the ancient walls and towers, strength- 
ened the curtains by solid earth-works on the inside, 
and sometimes filled up solid the lower stories of towers. 
But when the wall fell under the fire of siege-artillery, 
those masses of earth tumbling forward with it, by form- 
ing a natural talus or incline, facilitated the access to the 
breach; while the simple walls, not backed by earth- 
works internally, when they fell, formed breaches of ir- 
regular configuration and of very difficult access. To 
remedy these defects, when the ancient defences were 
retained but adapted to act as a defence against artillery, 
the internal earth- works had occasionally wooden sleepers, 
or the branches of trees smoked or made resinous to pre- 
serve them from rotting, laid into the body of the clay in 
all directions ; earth-works of this kind were firm enough 

The name given to those parts of the parapets between the crenelles or 




not to fall with tlie wall, and they rendered the breach 
impracticable. If it happened that the ancient walls 
had been simply backed up on the inside, so as to allow 
cannon to be placed on the parapet level, and the ancient 
crenellage had been simply replaced by thick merlons 
and embrasures of stone ; then, when the besieged force 
had ascertained the point at which attack was threat- 
ened, and while the besiegers were making their last 
approaches and were engaged in effecting a breach, they 
threw up, in the rear of the front attacked, a work of 
timber and earth, and between this work and the breach 
they sank a ditch; the breach having become prac- 
ticable, the besiegers threw forward their columns of 
attack, who now found themselves in front of a new 
rampart, well furnished with artillery ; and the siege had 
to be begun afresh. This re-entering work was very 
difficult of access, being flanked by its natural con- 
formation, nor could the assailants venture on carrying 
by assault a work which took them in face, in flank, 
and even in reverse. When Blaise de Montluc defends 
Sienna, he throws up behind the ancient walls of the 
city, and at the points where he supposes they will be 
attacked, re-entering ramparts ia the manner of those 
sketched below (fig. 109). 

" ' So I had determined/ says he, ' that if the enemy came to 
assail us with artillery, to intrench myself at a distance from 
the wall, outside which the battery was placed, to let them enter 
at their ease ; and I took care always to close the two extremi- 
ties, and to place at each four or five pieces of heavy artillery, 
charged with thick chains, and nails, and pieces of iron. Be- 
hind this place of retreat (retirade) I decided on placing all the 
musketry of the town, together with the arquebusery, and when 
they should he within, to have the artillery and arquehusery 
to fire at once ; and we, who would be at the two extremities, 



could then set upon tliem with pikes, halberds, swords, and 
bucklers ^'" 

Fig. 109, View of part of the Fortifications of Sienna. 

This temporary defensive arrangement was not long 
in being established as a fixed system, as we shall pre- 
sently see. 

When the effects of artillery were well known, and it 
became an ascertained fact that walls of masonry of some 

'' Comment, of the Maresohal de Montluc, edit. Buchon, p. 142. 


two or three yards in thickness (which was the mean 
thickness of curtains before the regular use of ordnance) 
could not resist a battery dischargiag from three to five 
hundred balls over a surface of eight yards square or 
thereabouts", at the same time that walls of masonry 
were lowered, various means were employed to give 

» From the close of the sixteenth century, the French artillery had adopted six 
calibres for ordnance : — 1st, the cannon, the length of which was 10 ft., with a ball 
weighing SSJlbs.; 2nd, the culverin, lift, long, with a ball weighing 12Jlbs.; 
3rd, the Mtarde, 9J ft. long, with ball 7i lbs. ; 4th, the moyewne, 8 ft. 2 in. long, 
with ball weighing 2| lbs. 5 5th, the/a»oo«, 7 ft. long, with a ball of li lbs. j 6th, 
the famconneaa, the length of which was 5 ft. 4 in., with a ball weighing 14 or. 
{La Fortification, by Errard, of Bar-le-Duc, Paris, 1620.) 

The following are some of the guns in use at the same period in England (see 
" A Military Dictionary explaining all DifBcult Terms in Martial Discipline, Forti- 
fication, and Gunnery," by an officer who served several years abroad. London, 
1702) :— 

Demi-cannon lowest. A great gun that carries a ball of 30 lbs. weight and 6 in. 
diameter. Its charge of powder 14 lbs. It shoots point-blank 156 paces. The 
weight of it 5,400 lbs., the length 11 ft., the diameter of the bore 6| in. 

Demi-cannon ordinary. A great gun 6|in. diameter in the bore, 12 ft. long, 
weighs 5,600 lbs., takes a charge of 17 lbs. 8 oz. of powder, carries a shot 6^ in. 
diameter, and 32 lbs. weight, and shoots point-blank 162 paces. 

Demi-cannon of the greatest size. A gun 6f in. diameter in the bore, 12 ft. long, 
6,000 lbs. weight. The piece shoots point-blank 180 paces, 36 lbs. shot. 

Demi-culverin of the lowest size : 4| in. diameter, 10 ft. long, 2,000 lbs. weight c 
shoots point-blank 174 paces, 9 lbs. shot. 

Demi-culverin ordinary : 4^ in. diameter in the bore, 10 ft. long, 2,700 lbs. 
weight : shoots point-blank 175 paces, 10 lbs. 11 oz. shot. 

Demi-culverin, elder sort : 4§ in. diameter, lOJ ft. long, 3,000 lbs. weight ; point- 
blank shot 178 paces, 12 lbs. 11 oz. shot. 

Thfre were also — 

Culverin of the least size : bore 5 in. diameter, 4,000 lbs. weight ; random shot, 
180 paces, weiglit of shot 15 lbs. 

Culverin ordinary: bore 5iin. diameter, 4,500 lbs. weight; carries a shot 
17 lbs. 5 oz. 

Culverin of the largest size : 5 J in. diameter in the bore, 4,800 lbs. weight ; 
carries a shot 20 lbs. weight. 

Cannon Soyal or of Eight : 8 in. diameter in the bore, 12 ft. long, 8,000 lbs. 
weight J weight of ball 48 lbs. Its point-blank shot is 185 paces. 

There were other names given to pieces of ordnance, as: — Whole Cannon, 
Bastard Cannon or Cannon of Seven, Demi-cannon 24 pounders. Whole Culverin 
12 pounders, Demi-culverin 6 pounders, Sakers, Minions 3 pounders, Drakes and 

It is worthy of remark that the range of point-blank fire then attained does not 
appear to have exceeded 190 paces. — Tb. 



ttem a greater force of resistance. In constructions of 
a date anterior to the use of cannon, it had been some- 
times customary, in order the better to resist the action 
of the mine, the sap, or the ram, to build in the thick- 
ness of the walls relieving or discharging-arches, masked 
by the outer face ; which, by carrying the weight of the 
walls upon detached points, supported the parapets, and 
hindered the walls from falling all of a piece, unless it so 
happened that the besiegers had sapped them precisely 
at the concealed points of support (fig. 110), a casualty 

Fig. 110. View of the Parapet of the Curlain-'wall, inside. 

which could only be the effect of chance. In the six- 
teenth century this system was made perfect; for not 
only were discharging-arches built in the thickness of 
the curtains of masonry, but these were strengthened by 
internal abutments buried in the earth-works, and sus- 
taining the revetments by means of vertical semicircular 
vaults (fig. 111). Care was taken not to connect these 
buttresses with the solid portion of the walls throughout 
their whole height, in order to hinder the revetments, 
when they fell by the action of the balls, from carrying 
the buttresses with them; these internal spurs could 
also, by sustaining the earth-work between them, offer 


ah obstacle which it would be difficult to overthrow. 
But those means were costly; they always required, 

Fig. 111. View of a Parapet she-winft the Construotion. 

besides, that the walls should form a somewhat con- 
siderable escarpment above the level of the counterscarp,, 
of the ditch. It was with difficulty engineers could be 
brought to abandon their elevated works; for, at this 
period, assault by escalade was still frequently attempted 
by besieging troops, and the narratives of the sieges of 
fortified places make frequent mention of them. Besides, 
the means abeady described, whether for placing walls 
in a state to resist cannon, or for presenting a new ob- 
stacle to the besiegers when they had succeeded in over- 
throwing them, they did what was called remparer the 
fortifications, that is to say, they fijced on the outside of 
the ditches, or even as a protection to the wall to deaden 
the balls, or at a certain distance within the works, 
ramparts of wood and earth, the first forming a covered 
way, or a revetment to the wall, and the second a series 
of boulevards behind which to place artillery : Istly, to 
embarrass the approaches and prevent a sudden assault, 
or to preserve the wall from the effect of cannon shot ; 
2ndly, to arrest the besiegers when the breach was 




effected. The first-named replaced tlie ancient lists, and ; 
the second obliged the besiegers to besiege the place 
anew, after the wall of enclosure had been destroyed. 
These ramparts of earth deadened the ball and resisted 
longer than walls of masonry; and they were better 
adapted to receive and to protect pieces in battery than 
the old earth-work parapets. They were constructed in 
several ways ; the strongest were formed by means of an 
external revetment composed of vertical pieces of timber 
connected by St. Andrew's crosses, in order to hinder 
the work from undergoing displacement when some of 
its parts had been injured by the balls. Behind this 
timber-work facing was a series of fascines of small 
branches interlaced, or wat- 
tles, then an earth-work 
composed of alternate layers 
of wattles and earth. Some- 
times the rampart was 
formed of two rows of 
strong stakes fixed verti- 
cally, bound together by 
means of flexible withes, 
and having a horizontal frame-work keyed in (fig. 112) ; 
the intervals being filled in with stiff clay well rammed 
down, with all the pebbles taken out, and interspersed 
with very small pieces of wood. Or else trunks of trees 
laid down horizontally, connected together by cross-pieces 
keyed through, and with the intervals filled in as last 
described, formed the rampart (fig. 113). Embrasures 
were left at intervals, with hanging flaps. If the be^ 
sieged were attacked suddenly, or if they could not ob- 
tain the kind of clay required, they contented themselves 
with binding together trees which retained a portion of 
their branches, the interspaces being filled in with fas- 

Fj^. 112. Pascines. 



cines (fig. 114*). Those new impediments opposed to 
siege-artillery led to the use of hollow balls and pro- 

Fig. 113. Rampart formed of the Trunks of Trees. 

jectiles charged with combustibles, which, exploding in 
the midst of the ramparts, produced great disorder. By 

^^■■'5«i^?i'f^ll|p^^ m^^ 


Fig. 114. Hampart formed of Branches of Trees. 

degrees, sudden overt attacks had to be abandoned, and 
•places thus guarded approached only under cover, and 
.along winding trenches, the angular or rounded turnings 
■of which were protected from enfilade fire by gabions 
filled with earth and set on end. These large gabions 
served also for masking pieces placed in battery; the 

* See Le roi sage, Recit des Actions de I'lEmperewi' Maximilien I", by Mark 
Treitzsaurwen, with the engravings of Hannsen Burgmair, published in 1775; 
Vienna. (The engravings in wood of this work date from the commencement of 
the sixteenth century.) 

p 2 



intervals between the gabions forming the embrasures 
(fig. 115'). When the besiegers, by means of trenches, 

Fig. 115. Era'braaurea iormed -with G-abions. 

succeeded in placing their last batteries close up to the 
fortifications, and these latter were furnished with good 
external ramparts and with walls of great elevation, it 
became a matter of necessity to protect the breach bat- 
tery against the horizontal and plunging fire of these 
works, by embankments of earth surmounted with rows 
of gabions or of palisades strongly bound together and 
lined with wattles. Those works could only be executed 
during the night, as it is the practice still to execute 
them (fig. 116 0. -. 

Whilst thus improving the defensive works, by 
strengthening the walls with ramparts of timber or 
earth on the outside of the ditches, or against the outer 
face of the walls themselves, it was felt that these means, 
although rendering the effect of the fire of the artillery 
less terrible and immediate, still could do no more than 
retard the assault by a few days; and that a fortified 

' See the note on the preceding page. 

' Ibid. 



place, when once invested, and with breach-batteries 
fixed within a short distance of its walls, found itself 

Fig. 116. View of tiie Trenohsa.-witti Gations, &o 

shut up within these walls, without being able to at- 
tempt sorties or to hold any communication beyond. In 



conformity with tlie method hitherto in use, the assail- 
ants still, at the close of the fifteenth century and the 
beginning of the sixteenth, directed all their efforts 
against the gates ; the ancient barbicans, whether of 
stone or of wood (boulevards), were no longer either 
spacious enough or sufficiently well flanked, to oblige 
the besieging force to undertake any great works of 
approach ; and they were easily destroyed : whilst, once 
having effected a lodgment in these outworks, the enemy 

n^. 117 The Mazelle Gate and Barbican at Metz. 
A. Barbican. B. Ancient Curtain. C. Later Curtain. 

fortified himself in his position, established his batteries, 
and concentrated his fire upon the gates. These were. 



therefore, the first points upon which the attention of 
constructors of fortifications became fixed. From the 
close of the fifteenth century the great object aimed at 
was to guard the gates and the Utes-de-pont ; to flank 
those gates by defences adapted to receive artillery, 
taking as much advantage as possible of the existing 
defences and improving them. The Mazelle gate (fig. 
117) of the city of Metz « had been strengthened in 
this manner; the ancient barbican, at A, had been 
levelled and terraced to take cannon ; the curtain- wall, 
B, had been rampired (rampare) on the inner side, and 
the one, C, reconstructed so as to command the first 
gate. But defences so narrow and restricted did not 
suffice ; those who conducted the defence were in each 
other's way; while the siege-batteries, when brought 
into position before works thus accumulated on a single 
point, destroyed them all at the same moment, and flung 
the defenders into disorder. Engineers soon obeyed the 
necessity there was for widening the area of defence, 
and extending the works so as to command a greater 
space of ground. To this end, they erected boulevards 
outside the gates, in order to afford the latter shelter 
from the effects of artillery (fig. US'-); sometimes these 
boulevards were furnished with famses hraies to receive 
arquebusiers ; if the enemy, after having destroyed the 
merlons of the boulevards and dismounted the batteries, 
reached the ditch, the arquebusiers retarded the assault, 
A great extension, also, was given to the external works 
in order to form places d'' amies in front of the gates. 
The increasing power of artillery led, as its result, to the 
gradual extension of the fronts of fortifications, and to 

s Mazelle Gate at Metz, (Topog. of Gaul, Mgrian, 1655.) 
^ Gate of Lectonre. Ibid. 



their passing beyond the limits of the ancient walls and 
towers, to which tradition, quite as much as any motive 

Fig. 118. View of J3arl3ican, or Boulevard, Metz. 

of economy, had at first confined them. The towns were 
attached to their old walls, and could not be induced all 
of a sudden to look upon them as defences all but value- 
less; if necessity required they should be altered, this 
was almost always effected by means of works of a pro- 
visional character. The new art of fortification was still 
but in its elements, and each engineer endeavoured, 
by experiment, not indeed to establish a system which 
should be original and universal, but to preserve the an- 
cient walls of his town by intrenchments, partaking more 


of the character of field-works than of that of a system of 
fixed defences, methodically planned. These various ex- 
periments, however, would necessarily lead to a general 
result : the ditches were in a short time carried round 
the boulevards of the gates, front and rear, in a manner 
which had already been adopted at some barbicans ; and 
on the outside of these ditches, ramparts of earth were 
thrown up forming a covert-way. It was thus by slow 
degrees that engineers succeeded in commanding the 
approaches of the besieging force. The want was felt of 
fortifying the outlying parts, of protecting towns by 
works of sufficient projection to hinder siege-batteries 
from bombarding the dwellings and stores of the be- 
sieged ; and it was more especially along navigable rivers 
and sea-ports that they had already in the fifteenth cen- 
tury begun to plant towers (or bastilles) connected by 
ramparts, in order to place the ships out of the reach of 
projectiles. The towns of Hull in Lincolnshire, of Lu- 
beck in Holstein, of Leghorn, of Bordeaux, of Douai, of 
Lieges, of Arras, of Basle, &c., possessed bastilles capa- 
ble of receiving cannon. We subjoin the plan of the 
line of towers of Kingston-upon-HuU, reproduced by 
Mr. J. H. Parker (fig. 119 '). As regards the bastilles 
of Lubeck, they were detached, or connected with terra 
firma by jetties, and thus formed salients of very con- 
siderable projection surrounded on all sides by water 
(fig. 120 '^). These latter bastilles appear to have been 
constructed of timber and earth. 

, ' Some Account of Domest. Architect, in England, from Edward I. to Eichard II. j 
Oxford, J. H. Parker, 1853. The castle of Kingston-upon-HuU was founded by 
King Edward I. after the battle of Dunbar, but the fortifications here figured are 
certainly of a later date, and belong probably to the close of the fifteenth century. 
Mr. Parker remarks with justice that they were in conformity with the external 
defences adopted in Prance. 

'' After an engraving of the sixteenth century from the author's collection. 

21 8 


Th.e method of defending gates by bastions, or boule- 
vards, of a circular form, was employed in Trance from 

PftA'^O 5,C \ 

FiJ. 119. Part of the Fortifications of the Town of Hull. 

the time of Charles VIII. MacbiaveUi, in his " Treatise 
on the Art of War," 1. viii., thus expresses himself: — 

" But ... if we have anything considerable (in the way of 
military institutions,) we owe it entirely to the ultramontanes. 
You know, and your friends can remember, what was the state 
of weakness of our fortifications before the invasion of Charles 
VIII. in Italy, in the year 1494." 

And in the official account of his visit of inspection 



to the fortifications of Plorence, in 1526, occurs the 
following passage : — 

" We arrived afterwards at the gate of San-Griorgio (on tlie 
left bank of the Arno) ; the advice cf the captain was to lower 

¥ii. 120. Fortifications of Lubeok. 

it, to form it into a round bastion and to place the outlet on the 
flank, as is the custom." 

We give (fig. 121) a bird's-eye view of the castle of 
Milan, as it was at the beginning of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, which will serve to explain the system of defence 
and attack of fortified places in the time of Francis I. 



--.^^]j\y(j^^>^;^ ;;;^<^;5^=^f■ '■'-" 


■Fig. 121. Bird's-eye View of the Castle of Milan.— (See opijosite.) 


We find herein the old defences mixed up mtli the 
new, an incredible confusion of towers and forts iso- 
lated by ditches. At A the besieging army had esta;- 
blished batteries behind gabions, protected by bastilles, 
B) circular redoubts of earth-work occupying the place 
of modern places cfarmes^ but commanding the front 
works of the besieged. At C we see boulevards flanked 
by towers in advance of the gates ; at D curtains without 
terraced-work, but crowned with parapets [chemins de 
ronde) ; on the ground-floor are placed covered bat- 
teries, the embrasures of which are seen throughout, at 
the level, E, whilst the upper portions of the walls 
appear entirely devoted to the archers, crossbow-men, 
and arquebusiers, and still retain their machicolations. 
At F is a boulevard surrounding the weakest part of tho 
'castle, from which it is separated by a ditch filled with 
water. This boulevard is supported on the left, at G, 
by a work rather well flanked, and on the right, at H, 
by a kind of keep or donjon, defended according to the 
ancient system. From these two works the commu- 
nications with the body of the place are by means of 
drawbridges. The castle is divided into three parts, 
separated by ditches, and capable of cutting off their 
communications with each other. In advance of the 
gate situate in the foreground, at I, and along the 
counterscarp of the ditch, a parapet wall is run, with 
traverses, to prevent the besiegers from taking the flank, 
K, en echarpe, and destroying it. But it is easy to see 
that all these works are too small, and do not present 
flanks of a sufficient extent ; and that they could be 
rapidly overpowered, one after the other, if the besiegers 

A A. Batteries of tlieBesiegers. D D. .Curtain Walls. H. Donjon, or Keep. 

B B. Bastilles of ditto. E E. Embrasures. 1 1. Parapets. 

CC. Boulevards, or Barbicans, F F. Boulevards. K. The Flank, 

flanked by Towers. G. Outworks. 


were in possession of a numerous artillery, the force of 
which might be converged upon one point after another, 
simply by changing the direction of the fire. And, in 
fact, in order to prevent works like these, of too limited 
an extent, from being all destroyed at the same time by 
a single battery which could be brought to bear on them 
from a point sufficiently near, they had already begun to 
erect, within the fortifications and in the midst of the 
bastions, earthworks of a square or circular form, for the 
purpose of commanding the earth bastilles of the besieg- 
ing force. This kind of work was frequently employed 
in the sixteenth century, and since, and took the name 
of cavalier, or platform; it became a resource of great 
.utility in the defence of strong places, whether it was of 
a permanent nature, or was merely erected during the 
course of the siege; enabling the besieged to sweep the 
trenches, to take the siege-batteries en echarpe, or to 
command a deep breach when the embrasures on the 
flanks of the bastions had been destroyed by the enemy's 
-fire. As permanent works, platforms were frequently 
erected for the purpose of commanding roads, gates, and 
, especially bridges, when these latter, on the side oppo- 
'.site the town, opened upon the bottom of an escarpment 
whereon the enemy could establish batteries to protect 
an attack, or to hinder the besieged from establishing 
themselves in force at the other side. The bridge at 
Marseilles, spanning the ravine which formerly inter- 
sected the Aix road, was defended and enfiladed by a 
great cavalier, or platform, situate on the town-side 
(fig. 122''). When the bastions were too distant one 
. from the other to fiank the curtains effectually, platforms 
were erected between them in the centre of the curtains, 

'' 'Fue de la ville de Marseille. (Topog. de la Gaule, M&ian.) 



either semicircular or square in form, to strengthen their 
fronts ; and in connection with the bastions themselves 

■Fig. 122. Tie-w of the Bridia of Marseilles. 

it was usual to erect platforms, in order to give the 
bastions a greater commanding force, and to enable 
a greater number of pieces to be placed in battery on 
a given point. In the white marble bas-reliefs which 
'decorate the tomb of Maximilian at Innspruck, we se6 
a cavalier, or raised platform, planted on a bastion form<- 
ing part of the fortifications of Yerona (fig. 123). The 
bastion is well characterized, with its faces and flanks ; 
a fausse hraie defends the lower portions of it and com- 
mands the ditch. The parapets are faced with earth 
and branches ;' behind are gabions to protect the soL 
diers; above the gabions, on the terre-plain of the 
bastion, rises a platform, or cavalier, built in masonry, 
the parapets of which are, in like manner, furnished 
with fescines and earth. , — j 



Platforms had tMs further advantage, that they de- 
filed the curtains ; which was all the more necessary as 

!Fig, 123. Cavalier on a Baation at Verona, 

besieging armies still preserved, at the beginning of the 
fifteenth century, the traditions of the ofi'ensive bastilles 
of the Middle Ages, and fi-equently established their siege- 
batteries upon earth- works raised considerably above the 
surrounding ground. When the besieging force, either 
by means of earth- works, or owing to the configuration 
of the ground outside, were able to plant their batteries 
upon some elevated point commanding (or level with) 
the upper defensive works of the fortifications, and, 
.taking them en echarpe or enfilading them, could thus 
destroy the uncovered batteries of the besieged, at a 



long range and over a wide extent, it was usual from 
the date of the sixteenth century to eredt, in default of 
platforms, traverses of earth, A (fig. 124), sometimes 

Fig. 124. Traverses, A, with Gfabions, B, 

furnished with gabions, B, at the moment of the attack, 
to increase their height. 

But it was not long before the defective nature of 
works, which, while they formed considerable salients 
from the outer lines, did not connect themselves with 
any general system of defence, came to be recognised : 
they were not flanked. Obliged to defend themselves 
separately, and not being themselves defended, they 
merely presented a single point upon which the fire of 
the besiegers could be converged, and could only oppose 
an almost passive resistance to the cross-fires of the 
siege-batteries. By increasing his obstacles, they re- 
tarded the works of the enemy, but were impotent to 
destroy them ; the bastions or platforms, therefore, were 
multiplied ; that is to say, that instead of raising them 
only in advance of gates, or, as at Hull, with a special 
purpose, they erected them at regular intervals, not only 
to keep the approaches at a distance and cover the 
ancient fortified fronts, still preserved, from the fire of 


the enemy, but also in order to defend these bastions 
by means of one another^ In the proces-verlal drawn 
up by Machiavelli, and already referred to, on the forti- 
fications of riorence, we find the following passages, 
having reference to the erection of round bastions in 
advance of the ancient fortified fronts : — 

" When you go beyond the road of San-Griorgio about one 
hundred and fifty hraccia (or about one hundred and thirty 
yards), you come upon a re-entering angle, formed by the wall 
which at this point alters its direction and turns to the right. 
The opinion of the captaia (general) was, that it would be 
useful to erect at this point either a casemate or a round bastion 
which should command the two flanks ; and you wiU under- 
stand that he means by this, to sink ditches wherever there are 
walls, because he is of opinion that ditches are the first and the 
strongest defences of fortified places. After having advanced 
a distance of some one hundred and fifty braccia further, to a 
place where there are some buttresses, he was of opinion there 
should be another bastion erected here ; and he thought that if 
if this were made of sufiicient strength, and sufficiently ad- 
vanced, it might render unnecessary the erection of the bastion 
of the re-entering angle, already referred to. 

" Beyond this point we find a tower, whereof he considers we 
should iucrease the extent and diminish the height, arranging 
it in such a manner as to be able to work heavy guns upon its 
summit ; he thinks it would be useful to do the same with all 
the other towers ; he adds that the nearer they are to one an- 
other the more they increase the strength of a place, not so 
much because they reach the enemy in flank as because they 
attack him in front." 

In nearly all cases these boulevards, or bastions (for 
we may henceforward give them that name), erected 

' Defenses de la ville de Blaye, (Topog. de la Gaule, Merian.) The plans of the 
towns of Treves, D61e, Saint-Oiner, Douay, &c., (see Les Plans et Frqfils des 
princip. Villes, by the Sieur de Beaulieu, 17th century). The plans of the towns of 
Bordeaux, Mons, Liege, Coblentz, Bonn, Basle, (see Introd. to Za Fortification of 
De Fer, Atlas ttal., 1723.) 


precipitately and on the spur of the moment, during a 
siege, outside the ancient fronts, were merely earth- 
works faced with timber or sods, and not rising above 
the crest of the counterscarp of the ditch. But when, 
during the' first half of the sixteenth century, the 
ancient towers and curtains of masonry were replaced by 
new defences, and when it happened that those new 
works could be carried out (the necessary funds being 
forthcoming) methodically, those works were then re- 
vetted with masonry. Up to this period, however, they 
did not attempt to extend the works outside the body of 
the place, and the attack could always establish itself 
opposite the bastions of the fortifications, without being 
obliged to take a certain number of outworks, such as 
those it is now customary to dispose around the main 
walls. In order to oblige the besiegers to commence 
their approaches at a sufiicient distance from the glacis, 
recourse was had to platforms (or cavaliers) high enough 
to command the country, or else to towers so arranged 
as to afford a view of the neighbourhood of the fortifica- 
tions over the top of the curtains and bastions. It was 
according to this method that Albert Durer fortified the 
town of Nuremberg. Whilst retaining the ancient de- 
fences of the town, which date from the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries, Albert Durer erected outside these 
an advanced line of earthwork fortifications, with large 
revetted circular bastions, ditches, and glacis, and at 
intervals he strengthened the defences of the old walls 
by lofty and spacious towers, commanding the two lines 
of fortification and the outlying parts. Those large 
towers are furnished on the ground-story with one or 
two embrasures to enfilade the parapet between the 
ancient and the new lines, and have a platform at top 
capable of receiving a considerable number of cannon. 



No fortification of this period shews more forcibly what 
occupied the attention of the engineers of the sixteenth 
century than those Nuremberg works. Not having as 
yet adopted a complete system of flank-works; not 
having as yet applied, with all its consequences, the 
axiom that that which defends should he defended; uneasy 
about the resiilt of their combinations, or rather, we 
should say, of their experiments; knowing that the 
convergence of an enemy's fire would always destroy 
their advanced works, however solidly they might be 
built, — they wanted to see and command their external 
defences from within the body of the place, as, a century 
before, the baron could see from the top of his donjon 
whatever was going on round the walls of his castle, 
and send up his supports to any point attacked. The 
great towers of Nuremberg are more properly, in fact, 
detached keeps than portions of a combined system ; 
rather observatories than effective defences, even for the 
period. The plunging fire from those platforms, placed 
at a height of some eighty feet above the level of the 
parapets of the town walls, could produce no very great 
effect, more especially if the besieging force succeeded 
in establishing itself on the crest of the counterscarp of 
the ditches, for from that point the swell of the bastions 
masked the towers. It does not appear that those lofty 
towers were very frequently employed. The attention 
of the engineers of the commencement of the sixteenth 
century was principally fixed upon the form to be given 
to the newly adopted bastions, and to the principles to 
be adopted in their construction and defence. While 
giving them a height sufficient to command the sur- 
rounding parts, and a great diameter as compared with 
that of the ancient towers attached to outer embanked 
walls ; while strengthening the masonry of them oy 


buttresses which were covered by the embankments be- 
hind ; and while projecting them before the curtains as 
much as was possible without detaching them altoge- 
ther, — they endeavoured, at first, to protect their an- 
terior part from the converging fire of an enemy's bat- 
teries. For this purpose they threw up around the 
circular bastions, and at their hase, fausses braies, masked 
by the counterscarp of the ditch ; and these, to render 
them stronger, were sometimes flanked. This already 
shewed a marked progress, for circular bastions, like 
circular towers, were weak if attacked on the face ; they 
could oppose to the converging fire of a breach battery 
only one or two pieces of cannon. "We give below an 
example of one of those Ranked fausses braies (fig 125""). 

" Delia Cosmog. universale, Sebast. Munstero, 1558, small fol. Za citta 
d' Augusta (Augsburg), p. 676. The bastion here given is a dependency of a very 
important advanced work, which protected an ancient front (of the old walls) built 
behind a vfide wet ditch. The curtain, G, is feebly flanked by the bastion, because 
it is commanded and enfiladed in its whole length by the old walls of the town ; as 
regards the curtain, H, it was flanked by the fausse braie, and by the bastion, E, 
prolonged. It was with difficulty the bastion could be attacked behind the flanks 
of the fausse braie, at D, and it was impossible to attack it on the side of the 
curtain, G, for then the besiegers found themselves taken in reverse by the artillery 
pos'^ed on the old ramparts which commanded the flank, I, of the bastion. En- 
gineers had alreaiiy begun to apply with some degree of method the principle, that 
the parts inside should com/mamd the parts outside, and the assailants having ob- 
tained possession of the bastion, found themselves exposed to the fire of a very ex- 
tended line of front (see fig. 126). A is the front of the old walls, altered for 
cannon ; B, a wide watercourse ; C, a covered way with barrier, embanked against 
the advanced work ; D, a small watercourse ; E, traverses ; P, bridges j G, a ram- 
part crossing the ditch, but commanded, enfiladed, and taken in reverse by the old 
walls. A, of the townj H, the advanced work ; I, a front of old wall, levelled and 
rampired ; K, a front also rampired (these two low ramparts are commanded on- all 
sides by the walls of the town) j L L are bridges, M is the wet ditch, N the bas- 
tions in earth, timber, and wattles, one of which is detailed in fig. 135 ; the 
remains of the old embanked defences ; P the covered ways of the advanced work. 
(See the general plan of the town of Augsburg, which shews a series of bastions 
constructed according to this system (fig, 127). — Introd. to La Fortification, 
dedi^e d Monsiegneur le due de Bourgogne, Paris, 1722, fol. Ital.) This plan, 
*hich is more accurate than that given in the work of SSb. Munstero, diflers, as 
regards the advanced work, H, in some important particulars. We think it worth 
while to give them both, especially as the principle of defence obtained by the 



When the besiegers had destroyed the battery esta- 
blished at A and completed their approaches, having 

I'iJ. 125. Vie-w of one of the Bastions of Augsburg. 

A. The Battery, 

B. The Glacis. 

C C. Covered Way. 

D. Fansse Braie. G H. Curtains. 

£, Prolongation of Bastion, L Flank of the Bastion, 

gained the top of the glacis at B, they had to drive back 
the defenders of the covered way, who were protected 
by an embankment and a palisade ; if they succeeded in 

addition of the bastions of the sixteenth century is preserved in both plans. We 
can still trace at Augsburg the lines of those bastions, the fansses braies of which, 
in masonry, have been enclosed within an external sodded embankment. 



reaching the ditch, they -were received by the horizontal 
and cross-fire of two pieces placed in the flanks of this 

Fig. lae. Plan oi Bastions at Aagsburg. 

A. lYontofoldWall. 

B. Wide Watercourse. 
C C. Covered Way. 

D. Small Watercourse. 

E. Traverse. 
FF. Bridges. 

G. Eampart across Ditch. 

H. Advanced Work, 

IK Fronts of old Wall witli 

LL. Bridges. 

M. The wet Ditch. 
N N. Bastions, 
O, Remains of old Defences. 
P, Covered Way of the Ad- 
vanced Work. 

lower work (which was preserved until the moment of 
attack by the fausse braie at C) , and by the musketry of 
the defenders of the counterscarp of the ditch. To fill the 
ditch under the cross-fire of those two pieces was an opera- 
tion attended with great danger ; it then became neces- 
sary to destroy the fausse braie and its flanks by cannon. 
If the assailants wanted to turn the flanks and take the- 
fausse braie at D by escalade, they were received by the 
masked pieces of the second flank, E. Finally, having 


overcome all those obstacles and carried the bastion, the 
assailants found still before them the old defences, ¥, 
which had been preserved and raised upon; the lower 
portions of which, masked by the elevation of the bastion, 
could be furnished with artillery or arquebusiers. The 
artillery, also, intended to command the curtains when 

Fig. 27, Ground-plan of tlie Fortifications of Augs'burg. 

these latter were destroyed and the assailants attempted 
the passage of the ditch to mount the breach, were 
masked. In order to obtain this result, the engineers of 
the sixteenth century gave, as we have already ex- 
plained, a great projection to their round bastions from 
the face of the curtains, in such a manner as to form a 
re-entering angle which was pierced with embrasures for 
cannon (fig, 128°). But more space was required in 

" Delia Cosmog. universale, Sebast. Munstero, 1558, small folio. Sito e fig. di 
Francqfordia citti, come e nelV anno 1546. The bastion drawn in this view com- 
mands the river (the Maine) and one entire front of the ramparts of the city. This 
fortified angle is very interesting as a study, and the engraving which we have 

Pig. 128. A. The Re-entering Angle, with a Casemated Battery. B. Masking Wall. 

CC. Vent-holos. D. The Rampart. 



rig. 1S8. Vie-w of part of the Fortifications of Frankfort-on-the-Mamo. 



the gorges, A (fig. 129), for the service of the artillery ; 
their narrowness rendered them difficult of defence when 
the enemy, after having seized upon the bastion, at- 
tempted to push forward. We have seen how difficult 
it was, before the invention of 
cannon, to oppose to an assaulting 
column, narrow but deep, precipi- 
tated upon the parapets, a defensive 
front sufficiently solid to drive the 
assailants back (fig. 21) ; and when 
artillery opened large practicable 
breaches in the bastions or curtains, 
owing to the falling in of the earth- 
works, the assaulting columns could 
thenceforward be not only deep, 
Fig. 129. Han of one of the but also prcscut a large front : it 


thus became necessary to oppose 

copied, with snch emendations as were required to render it clear, indicates tlie 
various modifications and improvements which had heen introduced into the defence 
of strong places at the heginning of the sixteenth century. In the centre of the 
new bastion the ancient angle tower ifowr Sm coin) has been preserved, and serves 
as a watch-tower ; this tower has evidently had the top story added in the sixteenth 
century. The bastion is armed with two heights of batteries, the lower of which is 
covered and masked by the counterscarp of the ditch, made in the manner of a wall 
of countergnard. This covered battery could not be used until the moment when 
the assailants had attained the ditch. The re-entering angle. A, which contains a 
casemated battery, is protected by the projection of the bastion and by a wall, B, 
and commands the river. Vent-holes, C, allow the smoke from the batteries to 
escape. Beyond the drawbridge is a rampart erected in advance of the old walls, 
and commanded by them and the towers j it is guarded by a fausse-braie intended 
to protect the passage of the ditch. Arched buttresses are visible at intervals, 
which abut at one side against the revetted wall of the rampart and slope to the 
faussc braie ; this latter is enfiladed by the fire of the angle-bastion, and by a re- 
entering angle of the rampart, D. Were it not for its narrow limits, this defence 
might still be considered as of considerable strength. We have thought it right to 
admit various examples which do not belong to the military architecture of Prance j 
for it must be admitted that at the time of the transition from the ancient to the 
modern system of fortification, the several Western nations of Europe rapidly 
adopted the new improvements introduced into the art of defending strong places, 
and that local traditions were forgotten when necessity had become the teacher. 



to them a front of defenders at least equally great, to 
prevent the latter from being outflanked. The narrow 
gorges of the ancient circular bastions, although well 
closed with ramparts internally, were easily carried by 
assaulting columns, the impulsive force of which is 
always very powerful. The grave defects attendant upon 
narrow gorges was soon perceived, and in place of re- 
taining the circular form in bastions, they were given 
(fig. 130) a straight face, B, and two cylindrical ends, 0, 

Fig. 130. View of an Oiillon, or Oblong Bastion. 
B. Straight face of Wall. C C. Rounded ends. 

which were called orillons". Those bastions enfiladed 
the ditches by means of masked pieces placed behind the 

° The walls of the city of Narbonne, almost wholly rebuilt during the sixteenth 
century, and some ancient works in the fortifications of Rouen, Caen, &c., offered 
examples of defences constructed upon this principle. 

236 THE" oeillon; 

orillona ; but they only defended tKemselves on the face, 
they afforded no resistance to an oblique fire, and, above 
all, could not protect one another; their fire, in fact, 
could not reach a breach battery (fig. 131) fixed at A, 
which would be exposed merely to the fire of the curtain. 
The attention of engineers was still so much directed to 


Fig. 131. Plan of Orillons. 

A. Breaching Battery. B. Battery. 

E E. Side Batteries. 

C D. Straight Fronts. 
G. Breach. 

the system of close defence, and they were so anxious to 
give to each part of a fortification an individual stength 
of its own (a principle inherited from the feudal military 
architecture of the Middle Ages, where each work, as we 
have proved, defended itself on its own account, as an 
isolated fort), that they looked upon the straight fronts, 
G D, intended for the destruction of the batteries placed 
at B, as necessary; reserving the fire at E, enfilading 
the curtains, merely for the moment when the enemy 


attempted the passage of the ditch, and made their as- 
sault at the breach effected at G. This last vestige of 
medieval tradition was not long in disappearing; and, 
from the date of the middle of the sixteenth century, a 
form was definitely adopted in bastions, which conferred 
on the fortification of strong places a force equal to the 
attack, up to the moment when siege artillery acquired 
an irresistible superiority. 

It would appear that the Italian engineers, who at the 
close of the fifteenth century were so backward in the 
art of fortification, according to the evidence of Machi- 
avelli, had acquired a certain superiority over those of 
France, resulting from the wars of the last years of that, 
and the beginning of the sixteenth, century. Between 
the years 1525 and 1530, San Michele fortified a portion 
of the city of Verona, and had already given to his bas- 
tions a form which was not adopted in France before the 
middle of the sixteenth century. There exists, however, 
a plan (in manuscript upon vellum) of the town of 
Troyes, preserved amongst the archives of that town, 
which indicates in the clearest manner large bastions 
with orillons, and faces forming an obtuse angle; and 
this plan cannot be of a later date than 1530, since it 
was made at the time when Francis I. had the fortifi- 
cations of Troyes repaired, in 1524. Subjoined (fig. 132) 
is a fac-simile of one of the bastions shewn on this plan ■". 
However this may be, the French engineers of the latter 

f The ditch is a wet one. At A are shewn small masked batteries in two 
heights, held in reserve pi-ohably behind the covered flanks, B, constructed in rear 
of the orillons. Batteries, B, eufilad.^ the front of the ancient towers, which were 
retained. It will be observed that the masonry which revetts the bastion is 
thickest at the point and diminishes towards the orillons, that being a place where 
no breach could be effected ; buttresses are placed as a stay to all the revettments, 
underneath the earth-worka. This bastion is called Boulevard de la parte 




Fig. 132. Plan of one of the Bastions of Troyes. 
A A. Small Masked Batteries. B B. Advanced Batteries. 

half of tlie sixteentli century, abandoning the system of 
flat bastions, constructed them henceforward with two 

A. Obtuse Angle. 

Fig. 133. Plans of Bastiona 

B. Acute Angle, C C. Casemated Batteries. 

faces forming an obtuse angle, A (fig. 133), or forming 



Fig. 134. "View of iiastions attacked. 

B. Breaching Battery. C. Inner Rampart, 


a right angle or an acute angle, B (fig. 133), in order 
to command the surrounding parts by cross-fires ; keep- 
ing in reserve casemated batteries at C (sometimes these 
were in two heights), protected from the fire of the be- 
siegers by the orillons, for the purpose of taking an 
assaulting column in flank, and almost in reverse, when 
the latter threw themselves into the breach. In the 
illustration we append (fig. 134), where this action is 
represented, it is easy to see the utility of flanks masked 
by orillons ; one of the faces of the bastion. A, has been 
destroyed to allow of the establishment of the breach 
battery at B; but the pieces which arm the covered 
flanks of this bastion remain still intact, and can very 
materially damage the troops brought up to the assault, 
and throw them into disorder at the moment of their 
crossing the ditch, if, at the top of the breach, the 
attacking column are arrested in their progress by an 
internal rampart, C, thrown up in the rear of the cur- 
tain from one shoulder of the bastion to the other, and 
if this rampart is flanked by pieces of artillery. We 
have also shewn the bastion with a work thrown up 
across the gorge, the besieged foreseeing that they should 
not be able to defend it for any length of time. Instead 
of throwing up works across the gorges of bastions hur- 
riedly, and often with insufficient means, the plan was 
adopted, from the close of the sixteenth century, of exe- 
cuting these works, in certain cases, in a permanent 
manner (fig. 135'), or of detaching the bastions by 

1 Belle Fortif., di Giov. Scala, al christ". re di Francia ed i Navarra, Henrico IV., 
Eoma, 1596. The figure here produced is entitled, "Piatta forma fortissima 
difesa e sicura con una gagliarda retirata dietro o attorno della gola." A, a ram- 
part (says the legend) 50 ft. in thickness, of rear defence ; B, a parupet 15 ft. thick 
and 4 ft. high ; C, escarpment of the retirade, 14 ft. high ; D, a space filled up 
solid, and slightly inclined towards tlie point G ; H, flank-work, masked by the 
shoulder I ; K, a parapet 24 ft. thick, raised 48 ft. above the ditch. (Scala here 
refers to the Roman foot=11.72 inches Engl.) 



sinking a ditch behind the gorge, leaving no commu- 
nication with the body of the place, except by means of 

_,^o" Koman feet. 


Seotton on the line L M. 


Fi^. 135. Bastion isolated, "with Inner Kampart. 

A. Inner Bampart. 

B. Parapet. 

C. Escarpment. 

D. Sloping Surface. 
G. Lowest Point. 
H. Flanking Battel^. 

1 1. Masking Shoulders. 

K. Parapet. 

L M. Line of the Section. 

drawbridges, or very narrow passages which could be 
easily barricaded (fig. 136'). By this means the taking 
of a bastion did not necessarily involve the immediate 
surrender of the body of the place ; for it may readily 
be concluded that the besieging force endeavoured to 

' Delle Fortif., plate entitled " D'un buon modo da fabricare una piatta forma 
gagliarda et sicura, quantunque la sia disnnita della cortina." X the legend 
describes as a rampart behind the curtain ; C, a bridge which communicates from 
the city to the platform (bastion); D, solid earth-work; E, shoulders of the bas- 
tion ; I, flanks to be made low enough to be covered by the shoulders E. 

Scala gives, in his Treatise on fortifications, a large number of plans for bastions, 
some of thom remarkable for the period. 



bied's-ete view oe a bastion. 

eflfeet a breach in tlie bastions rather than in the cur- 
tains, to avoid the direct effect of the masked batteries 

CiJiiPF. SUI^ . Ail 

Fig, 136. Bird'a-eye View oi a Bastion. 

A B. Line of the Section. 

B. Parapet. 

C. Bridge. 

D. Solid Earth-works. 

EE. Shoulders. 

I K. Flanking Batteries. 

X. Rampart 

behind the 

at the moment of assault. Seeing that the besiegers 
preferred to attack the bastions, with a view to breach- 
ing them and there making their assault, the engineers 
of the sixteenth century disposed the batteries masked 
by orillons in such a manner as to enfilade not only the 
curtain, but likewise the faces of the adjoining bastions. 
Thus, an assaulting column, whether it was thrown upon 
a bastion or on a curtain where a breach had been ef- 
fected, was always met by a cross-fire ; unless, indeed. 


the batteries masked behind the orillons had been 
sUenced, previously to the assault, by ricochet shots 
or bombs. 

How ingenious soever the expedients employed for 
defending the salient portions of the fortifications, and 
for cutting off their communication with the body of the 
place, might have been, no long time elapsed before it 
was discovered that these expedients had the defect of 
dividing the works, and of taking away the means of 
sending, with ease and rapidity, support to all the salient 
points of the defence, and that the advantages which 
resulted from their isolation were far from compensating 
for the dangers which this condition brought with it ; so 
true is it that the simplest formulas are those which are 
the last to be adopted. The bastions, therefore, were 
left open at the gorge, but there were established be- 
tween them, to protect their faces and in advance of the 
curtains, detached works which became of great utility 
in the defence, and which were frequently employed to 
hinder the approaches before feeble fronts or old walls ; 
to these were given the names of ravelins or demi-lunes^ 
when these works merely assumed the form of a small 
bastion, and of ienailles where two of those works were 
connected by a front. A (fig. 137) is a ravelin, and 
B a tenaille. Those works were already in use at the 
close of the sixteenth century, during the wars of reli- 
gion; their slight elevation rendered it difficult to de- 
stroy them, while their horizontal fire produced a great 

It was also in the course of the sixteenth century that 
a decided batter was given to the revettments of the 
bastions and curtains, in order to neutralize the effect of 
the balls, which latter exerted, naturally, less action 
upon the wall-faces when they did not strike them at 




right angles. Before the invention of ordnance a slope 
was given only to the base of the revettments, in order 

JTi^. 137. Plans of a Ravelin, A, and two Tenailles, B. 

to keep the assailants at some distance from the walls, 
and to place them vertically under the machicolation of 
the hoards ; whilst, on the contrary, it was thought ini- 
portant to keep the walls vertical, to render it more 
difficult to scale them. 

One very important detail appertaining to the defence 
of strong places must necessarily have engaged the 
attention of the constructors of fortresses when the use 
of cannon became general; we allude to embrasures. 
"We have already seen how, in the fifteenth century, 
engineers had sought to mask the pieces placed in the 


interior of their defences as much as possible by various 
combinations more or less happy. The first embrasures, 
those given by us (figs. 89 and 98), had the defect of 
leaving the gunners so narrow a field that they could 
only point their pieces in a single direction ; those of the 
castle of Schaffhausen (fig. 103), although offering a 
somewhat more extensive range of fire, must have been 
easily destroyed by the enemy's balls ; the insignificant 
obstacles opposed to the artillery of the besiegers being 
only calculated to protect the gunners against musketry. 
Albert Durer had, so early as the first years of the six- 
teenth century, adopted a form of embrasure which, for 
uncovered batteries, offered signal advantages over the 
modes then commonly received. Those embrasures, as 
applied to the barbette batteries of the bastions and 
curtains of the city of Nuremberg, and which any one 
may still see there, are reproduced with their necessary 
accessories in his work^ We subjoin (fig. 138) the 
plan and (fig. 139) the section of one of them. The 
parapet, of a thickness varying from three to four yards, 
presents, in section, a curve intended to throw upwards 
the enemy's projectiles. A mantelet of stout wooden 
planks, revolving upon a horizontal axis, and forming an 
angle with the horizon, which was only elevated suffi- 
ciently to afford a passage for the muzzle of the gun and 
allow the piece to be pointed, offered no resistance to the 
balls of the besiegers, and sent them ricochetting over 
. the heads of the gunners. This system does not appear 
to have been adopted in France, where the parapets 
from an early period had been covered with earth and 
grass, having embrasures furnished with fascines while 

« " Alb. Dureri pictoris et architecti prsestantiss. de urb.arcibus, casteliisque con- 
dendis ac mnniendia, rationes aliquot, praesenli bellorum iiecess. accomm. : nunc 
receuB h ling. German, in Latinam traductaj." (Parisiis . . . 1535.) 



the siege lasted. Besides the example already given, 
the parapets of the curtains and bastions of the city of 

fig. 139. Plan of an EmTDrasure at NuremlDerg. 

S\ psettta 

Fig. 139. Section oi the same. 

Nuremberg, erected by Albert Durer, present, through- 
out a large portion of their extent, and principally on 
the side where the fortifications are accessible, a remark- 
able arrangement which we here (fig. 140) reproduce. 
These parapets, pierced with embrasures for cannon, are 
surmounted by timber hoards (hourdes), or fi.lled in with 
brick and mortar, like the old English half-timbered 



houses : in those hoards, arquebusiers and even archers 
(who were still employed at this period) might be placed. 

Fi|. 140. View of the Parapet at Nuremberg, with the Hoarding. 

Pieces in battery were covered by these hoards, just in 
the same way as pieces in the 'tween-decks of a man- 
of-war, as is shewn by the section given with the ex- 
ternal view of the parapets. The crenelles of the hoards 
were closed by shutters opening on the inside, in such a 
way as to present an obstacle to the balls or arrows fired 
by the assailants placed on the top of the glacis. 

We have sometimes seen in France the embrasures of 
uncovered batteries presenting externally a series of 
broken faces intended to stop the balls and bullets of the 
enemy (fig. 141), and to hinder them from sliding, as 
they would, along an unbroken splay to the mouth of 
the cannon. The embrasures of covered batteries, how- 
ever, long retained their original form, that is to say, 
they consisted only of a round or oval aperture and a 


sight-hole, nor was it until the close of the sixteenth 
century that they were made to widen backward from 

Fi^. 141. EmlDrasure -with Redents. 

beneath an arch (fig. 142). Our artillery-men soon re- 
marked that the narrow part of the embrasure ought not 

.k'' 3 ■■ 

Fig. 142. Plan and View of an Embrasure. Fig. 143. Plan of anotnei'EmbTasure. 

to reach to the middle of the thickness of the walls of 
casemates, for these walls being from six to seven yards 
thick, the narrow part of the embrasure, which lay be- 
yond the mouth of the cannon, was soon shattered by 
the wind of the piece ; they therefore gave the embra- 



sures of casemated batteries the form in plan represented 
by the figure 143. 

In crenelles and loop-holes the original forms were 
long retained; but for arrow-loops {archeres) simple 
conical holes, with or without sights over them, were 
frequently substituted'. The crenelles of the covered- 
ways were furnished with hanging shutters, having a 
hole pierced in them, and adapted either to the fire of 
small pieces or of arquebuses, as indicated by the ex- 
ample which we subjoin (fig. 144), copied from the crest- 

Fig. 144. Covered--way, with Crenelles, Loopholes and Shutters. 

works of the curtains at Nuremberg (fifteenth century). 
Sometimes embrasures for cannon were accompanied by 
loop-holes, lateral and descending, for musketry, arranged 
as in the figure (fig. 145 ''). 

Occasionally, also, certain embrasures were constructed 
to receive either small pieces of ordnance, such as fal- 
conels, or those large rampart arquebuses which may 
still be seen in the French and German museums, and 

' The name of crenelle is at present given to the small embrasures pierced in 
parapets for musketry, and similar enough in form to the ancient arrow-bops ; 
whilst anciently, the name of crenelle (or crSneau) was given to the square open 
space left between the two merlons of a parapet. 

" Bastions of the city of Nuremberg of the dose of the fifteenth century. 



of which there is a great number in the arsenal at Basle. 
As an example of these latter embrasures we may give 


Eig. 145. Elevation, Section, and Plan of an Embrasure, with Lcopholea 
for Musketry. 

those of the advanced work of the Laufer gate, at 
Nuremberg, which are very curious and worth studying. 
This outwork, perfectly intact, and which has preserved 
the greater part of its accessories of defence, dates from 
the middle of the fifteenth century. The void of the 
embrasures (fig. 146) is a vertical oblong in form, and 
facilitates therefore the plunging fire of the pieces, com- 
manding the bottom of the ditch as well as the glacis. 
This void, or crenelle, is furnished with a stout wooden 
cylinder placed upright with hoops and pivots of iron. 
The cylinder is pierced from side to side for a portion of 



yig. 146. Bm'bTasuTe of the LauTer Gate at Nuiemterg. 

A. Plan. B. Internal Elevation. C. Plan of Loophole, with Turning-post 

D. Form of the Turning-post. 

its height by an oblong aperture about 41 inches wide 
by 9| inches high, which is just enough to allow of the 


passage of th.e ball of the rampart pieces. When the 
piece was discharged, by turning the cylinder on its 
axis, the men placed in the embrasure were completely 
masked. A shews the general plan of the embrasure, 
B its internal elevation, C the plan and elevation of the 
crenelle with the revolving cylinder, and D the geo- 
metrical form of the cylinder with its dimensions (in 
parts of the French centimetre). The advanced- work of 
one of the gates of the city of Basle still retains its cren- 
elles (or loops) thus furnished with wooden cylinders, 
longitudinally pierced, for passing the muzzles of hand- 
arquebuses through. 

But it must be admitted that, in the presence of 
artillery, all those defensive expedients must have soon 
appeared insufficient, and rather an incumbrance than of 
any real service r neglecting therefore such precautions 
in fortresses, too convinced perhaps of their little utility, 
engineers contented themselves with embrasures of the 
simplest form, such as is shewn (fig. 143), consisting of 
an open crenelle forming an angle more or less acute, 
leaving barely space enough for the passage of the piece ; 
and it was only when the siege took place that pre- 
servative means were taken to protect those placed in 
the casemates and uncovered batteries. After having 
attached too great an importance to those details of de- 
fence, when the use of ordnance had been the means of 
radically altering the art of medieval fortification, it may 
be that their importance has been under- estimated since 
the seventeenth century. It is certain that, against the 
shock of artillery, it is useless to think of opposing any 
obstacles but those which shall be at once of great 
power, and yet simple enough not to retard the service 
of the guns while admitting of their being promptly and 
easily replaced. 


From the moment when bastions assumed definitely a 
new form, the system of attack, as well as the system of 
defence, became completely changed. The approaches 
had to be skilfully planned, for otherwise the cross-fire 
of the faces of bastions enfiladed the trenches and took 
the siege-batteries obliquely. The trenches had to be 
commenced at a great distance from the body of the 
place ; distant batteries had to be established, to destroy 
the parapets of bastions whose fire might annihilate the 
works of the sappers; in order thus by degrees, and 
imder cover of the works thrown up, to arrive at the 
back of the ditch, whilst at intervals places d^ amies pro- 
tected the batteries and trenches against night sorties 
by the besieged ; until, finally, the last battery was esta- 
blished to effect a breach. It is needless to say that 
even previously to the time when the art of fortification 
had become subject to regular formulas, before the times 
of such men as Errard de Bar-le-Duc, Antoine Deville, 
Pagan and Vauban, engineers had been driven to aban- 
don the last traditions of the Middle Ages. But starting 
with the rule, that whatever defends ought to he defended, 
impediments were so multiplied, so many separate works 
and commanding positions were established, the defences 
were encumbered with so many details, and such care 
was taken to detach them one from the other, that they 
became for the most part useless and even hurtful when 
the siege took place; and the garrison, ever sure of 
finding a second line of defence when the first was 
destroyed, and a third after the second, defended them- 
selves feebly in one after the other, always trusting to 
the last to make a stand. 

Machiavelli, with the practical sense which is his cha- 
racteristic, had always foreseen in his day the danger 
of those complications in the construction of works of 


defence ; for in Lis " Treatise on tlie Art of War," 
book vii., he says, — 

" And here I ought to give an advice : Istly, to those who 
have the charge of defending a city, namely, never to erect 
bastions detached from the walls ; 2ndly, to those who are con- 
structing a fortress, and that is, not to establish within its 
circuit fortifications which may serve as a retreat to troops who 
have been driven back from the first line of entrenchments. 
The reason for my first advice is this : we should always avoid 
a failure at the beginning, for we thus beget a distrust of all our 
future plans, and fill those who have embraced our cause with 
apprehension. You will not be able to provide against these 
mishaps by erecting bastions beyond the walls. As they will 
be constantly exposed to the whole fury of the artillery, and 
as at the present day such fortifications cannot be defended 
for any length of time, you will end by losing them, and 
wUl thus have prepared the cause of your ruin. When the 
Grenoese revolted against Louis XII., king of France, they built 
in this manner some bastions on the surrounding hills ; and the 
taking of those bastions, which were carried in a few days, 
brought with it the loss of the city. As regards my second 
proposition, I maintain that there is no greater danger for a 
fortress than rear-fortifications whither troops can retire in case 
of a reverse ; for once the soldier knows that he has a secure 
retreat after he has abandoned the first post, he does in fact 
abandon it, and so causes the loss of the entire fortress. "We 
have a very recent example of this in the taking of the fortress 
of Forli, defended by the Countess Catherine against Caesar 
Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI., who came to attack it with 
the army of the King of France. This place was full of forti- 
fications where retreat after retreat might be secured. There 
was, first of all, the citadel, separated from the fortress by a 
ditch which was crossed by means of a drawbridge, and this 
fortress was divided into three quarters, each separated from the 
other by ditches filled with water, and drawbridges. Borgia, 
having attacked one of those quarters with his artillerj^ effected 
a breach in the wall, which breach M. de Casal, Commandant of 
Forli, did not attempt to defend. He thought he might abandon 



this breach and retire upon the other quarters; but Borgia, 
once master of this portion of the fortress, was soon the master of 
the whole, because he seized upon the bridges which separated 
the different quarters. Thus was taken a place which was then 
considered almost impregnable, and the loss of which was due 
to two principal errors on the part of the engineer who had 
constructed it : Istly, he had too much multiplied the defences ; 
2ndly, he had not left to each quarter the command of its own 
bridges ^." 

Artillery had changed the moral conditions of the 
defence quite as much as the material conditions : just 
as it was good, in the thirteenth century, to multiply 
impediments, to erect fort after fort, to break up the 
defences, because both attack and defence were made 
foot by foot and hand to hand; just in the same way 
was it dangerous, when the powerfully destructive effects 
of artillery had been brought to bear, to interrupt the 
communications, to encumber the defences ; for the 
cannon destroyed those complicated works or rendered 
them useless, and burying the defenders beneath their 
ruins, demoralized the defending force, and deprived it 
of the means of united action. 

It had been ascertained already, in the system of 
fortification prevailing before the introduction of ord- 
nance, that the extreme sub-division of the defences 
rendered the task of command a difficult one for the 
commandant of a fortress, or even for the captain of a 
post; in detached works, such as towers, donjons, or 
gate-houses, the necessity had been felt, as early as the 
eleventh and twelfth centuries, of opening conduits or 
traps in the walls or through the vaulting, to serve as 
speaking tubes by which the commanding officer of the 

» Complete Works of N. Machiavelli. See the castle of Milan (fig. 121), which 
offers examples of all the faults pointed out hy Machiavelli. 


post, wMle placed at the most favourable point for ob- 
taining a view of the operations on the outside, could 
transmit his orders to each story and portion of the 
works. But when the roar of artillery came to be super- 
added to these material difficulties, it will readily be 
understood that those means became altogether insuffi- 
cient ; the use of cannon, therefore, necessarily induced 
in the construction of fortifications a greater breadth of 
arrangement, obliging both the besieged and besieging 
forces to abandon altogether a war of details. 

The method which consisted in fortifying strong places 
outside the line of the old walls had its inconveniences : 
the besieging force were able to operate at one and the 
same time against the two lines, the second being higher 
than the first ; they thus destroyed the two defences, or 
at least, overthrowing the first, they dismantled the 
second, shattered its merlons into fragments, and dis- 
mounted simultaneously the lower and the upper bat- 
teries (see fig. 116). If they succeeded in carrying the 
front line of defences, they might still be stopped for 
some little time by the escarpment of the old wall ; but 
this latter, being deprived of its barbette batteries, be- 
came no more than a passive defence which could be 
blown up without danger, or without requiring the 
assailants to cover themselves. For this reason Machi- 
avelli had already in his day recommended that perma- 
nent ramparts,- with a ditch, should be erected in the 
rear of the old walls of cities. Allowing, therefore, the 
ancient walls to remain as a first obstacle to resist a 
eoup-de-main^ or to arrest the progress of the enemy for 
some little time, and abandoning the use of external 
boulevards and of salient works which were exposed to 
the converging fire of the siege-batteries and were soon 
destroyed, the constructors of fortifications erected — in 


the rear of the ancient lines, which, from their weakness, 
would naturally be selected by the enemy for their point 
of attack — bastioned ramparts, forming a permanent 
work, analogous to tbe temporary one which we have 
shewn at fig. 109. It was upon this principle that a 
portion of the city of Metz had been fortified (after the 
raising of the siege undertaken by the imperial army, 
towards the close of the sixteenth century), on the side 
of the Sainte-Barbe gate (fig. 147 ^). Here the ancient 
walls, A, with their lists, are left just as they were ; 
barbette batteries only being established in the ancient 
lists, B. The enemy, having made a breach in the front, 
C D, which was actually the weakest inasmuch as it was 
not flanked, and having crossed the ditch and arrived at 
the place-d'armes, E, was exposed to the fire of the half- 
bastions, F G, and to both a front and cross-fire. From 
the outside, this rampart, being lower than the old wall, 
remained masked, intact; its flanks with orillons con- 
tained a covered and uncovered battery, enfilading the 

The great merit of the engineers of the seventeenth 
century, qnd of Vauban especially, consists in their 
having arranged the defences in such a manner as to 
converge upon the first front attacked and destroyed by 
the enemy the fire of a great number of pieces of artil- 
lery, and thus to change, at the moment the assault took 
place, the relations between the besieging and besieged 
armies ; and in their having simplified the art of forti- 
fication and done away with a vast number of detached 
works and details of defence, which are very ingenious 
on paper, but which are only impediments during a 
siege, and impediments of a very costly kind. It was 

' Topog. de la Gaule, Merian ; Topog. de la I^ance, Bibl. Imp. 




Fig. 147. Bird's-eye View of part of the City of Metz. 

A. Ancient Walls. B B. The Lists. C D. Front of old Walls. 

E. Placc-d'Armes. FG. Half-bastions. 

thus that, by degrees, the superficies of bastions was 
.enlarged; that orillons of small diameter which, de- 
stroyed by the artillery of the besieging force, rendered 


useless the pieces intended to enfilade the ditches at the 
moment the assault was delivered, were done away 
with ; that the greatest possible attention was bestowed 
on the profiles (or sections), these being one of the most 
powerful means of retarding the progress of the ap- 
proaches; that the glacis was thrown up in advance of 
ditches, to mask the revetment of the bastions and cur- 
tains ; that a considerable width was given to the ditches 
in front of the fausses Iraies ; that stone revetments for 
parapets were replaced by embankments of sodded earth, 
and that the gateways and gate-houses were masked, 
defended by advanced works, and flanked, instead of 
allowing their strength to consist in themselves alone. 

A new means of rapidly destroying ramparts was ap- 
plied at the beginning of the sixteenth century : after 
having undermined the revetments of the defences, as 
had been practised from time immemorial, instead of 
underpinning them with shores which were then set fire 
to, pockets {fourneaux) were made, and charged with 
gunpowder, and considerable portions of the earth- works . 
and revetments were thus blown up. This terrible ex- 
pedient, which had already been employed in the Italian 
wars, besides opening large breaches for the assailants, had 
also the effect of demoralising the garrison. Means were 
soon taken, however, to neutralize those works of the 
besiegers. In fortifications where the ditches were dry, 
behind the revetments of the ramparts were run vaulted 
galleries, which allowed the garrison to resist the con- 
struction of those fourneaux de mine (fig. 148 "} ; or, at 
intervals along the solid earth-works of the parapets, 
permanent wells were sunk, in order therefrom to push 
forward counter-mine galleries while the siege was going 

^ Bella Fortif. della Citta di M. Girol. Maggi, e del cap. Jacom. Castriotto, 
ingeniero del christ". re di Francia, 1553. 

s 2 



on, and after the engineers of the besieged had suc- 
ceeded in a:scertaining the direction of the galleries of 

Fig. 143. Plan of Vaoited Gallery. 

the enemy's mines ; which direction could be made out 
by carefully observing, at the bottom, of those wells, the 
noise made by the sap. Occasionally, also, counter- 
mine galleries were run under the covered-way or be- 
neath the glacis ; but it does not appear that these latter 
means were applied in any regular manner until the 
adoption of the system of modern fortification. 

It was only by slow degrees, aad as the result of 
numberless experiments, that scientific formulas could 
be arrived at in the construction of defensive works. 
During the course of the sixteenth century we find the 
germs of almost all the systems subsequently adopted, 
but there is no general method, no unity of plan ; the 
monarchical power, which is one in its essence, could 
alone lead to any definite result : and it is interesting to 


observe how the art of fortification, as applied to artil- 
lery, follows step by step the preponderance of the royal 
over tbe feudal power. It is not until the commence- 
ment of the seventeenth century, after the religious wars 
under Henry IV. and Louis XIII., that the works con- 
nected with the fortification of strong-places are planned 
after certain fixed rules, based upon a long course of 
observation; and that the last remains of the ancient 
traditions are abandoned, and formulas adopted, esta- 
blished upon the new bases of calculation. Thencefor- 
ward it became the unceasing endeavour of all engineers 
to find a solution for the problem, To see the besieging force 
without heing seen, while obtaining a cross and defile fire. 
The exact solution of this problem would render a forti- 
fication perfect and impregnable; but that solution, in 
our opinion at least, has yet to be discovered. 

We should not be able, without entering into long 
details which do not come within the limits of our sub- 
ject, to describe the various experimental efi'orts made 
since the beginning of the sixteenth century to raise the 
art of fortification up to the point at which Vauban has 
left it. We shall merely give, in order to furnish some 
idea of the new principles upon which modern engineers 
were about to establish their systems, the first figure of 
the Treatise of the Chevalier De Ville ^ 

"The hexagon," says that author, "is the first figure that 
can he fortified, the bastion remaining at right angles ; which 
is the reason of our commencing with it, of which, having given 
the method, it may be applied in like manner to all the other 
regular figures (fig. 149). Firstly, let a regular figure be con- 
structed, that is to say, one having the sides and angles equal, 
of as many sides as it is required that the figure shall have 
bastions .... In this figure we have drawn one half of the 

» Les Fortifications du Chevalier Antoine De VilJe, 1640, chap. vUi. 



hexagon, on which having shewn how to make a bastion, the 
same can be done with all the other angles. Let it be the angle 

^\y Tp 

iri^s. 149 and 150. Pian and Section of a Bastion according to De ViLle. 

E. H L of the hexagon, on which it is required to make a bas- 
tion. Divide one of the sides, H L, into three equal parts, and 
each of these parts into two, which are H F, and set off H Q 
equal to H F . . . . these are the demi- gorges of the bastions ; 
and on the points, F and Q, erect, perpendicularly, the flanks 
F E, Q M, equal to the demi-gorges ; from one extremity of the 
flank to the other draw the line ME and produce the semi- 
diameter S H . . ,, and make I A equal to I E ; then draw 
A E, AM, which will form the rectangular bastion Q M A E F, 
and will provide as much defence to the curtain as is possible ; 
and where the said curtain begins, may be known by producing 
the faces A E, A M, until they meet the said curtain at C and 
at K ; the line of defence will be A C ... . 

" It will be observed that this method will not answer for 
places having less than six bastions, because the flanks and 
gorges being of the same length, the bastion forms an acute 
angle. As for the other parts, make the line of the ditch 
V X, X Z, parallel to the face of the bastion, at a distance from 
the latter equal to the length of the flank." 

De Ville admits the orillons or shoulders to the flanks 
of bastions ; but he prefers rectangular to circular oril- 


Ions. He gives with the plan (fig. 149) the profile of 
the fortification (fig. 150). 

"Draw any line CV," adds De Ville, "and on this take CD, 
equal to five paces ; on the point D erect the perpendicular DF, 
equal to C D, and draw C F, which will be the slope of the 
parapet :%£rom the point F draw FQ-, equal to fifteen paces, 
parallel with C V, and on the point Gr raise G- H, equal to one 
pace, and draw F H, which will be the plane of the rampart with 
its incline towards the body of the place. Make H I four feet, 
and Gr L five paces for the thickness of the parapet ; K L must 
be drawn vertically, but K should be placed at two paces above 
the line C V ; afterwards draw K N, the batter (or talus) of the 
parapet, N Y, the parapet- way, shall be about two paces, and M 
less than a half-pace in thickness, and its height, M Y, will be 
seven or eight feet ; then let M P be drawn perpendicular to 
C V, so that it shall be five paces under 0, that is to say, that 
depth under the ground-level, and this will be the depth of the 
ditch. P Q is the batter or outward slope of the waU, which 
should be a pace and a-half, and will be the stringcourse 
(cordon), a little over the esplanade : the width of the ditch, Q R, 
in large fortifications should be twenty-six paces, and in others 
twenty-one paces. Let E.S, the slope of the counterscarp, be 
two and a-half paces, and its height, S T, five paces ; the corridor 
(covert- way) T V, which should be placed on the line C V, shall 
be five to six paces in width, the esplanade (the glacis) shall be 
one pace and a-half above the corridor V X, and said esplanade 
shall slope down to the country some fifteen or twenty paces . . . 
make the profile thereof ... of which there are divers kinds . . . ; 
the paces being equal to five pieds de roy." 

De Ville recommends fausses hraies in advance of the 
ramparts as greatly increasing the strength of forti- 
fications, for the reason that, being masked by the pro- 
file of the covered- way, they retard the establishment of 
breach-batteries and command the points where the 
trenches debouch upon the ditch: he considers they 
should be made of earth, and in the manner indicated 
by the profile at A (fig. 151). 


It was then with fortification as with every other 
branch of the art of architecture, — formulas had become 

I'ig. 151. Section of'Ditoli with False Braie, aooordini to De Ville. 

the rage, and each engineer brought forward his own 
system : if we have spoken of the Chevalier De Ville, it 
is because his methods are practical and the result of 
experience. But Vauban discovered that the bastions 
constructed by the engineers who had preceded him were 
too small, their flanks too short and too weak, the demi- 
gorges too narrow, the alignement of the ditches badly 
set out, and the covered-ways too limited in width, the 
places-d^ armes small and the external works insufficient. 
It is to him and to M. de Coehorn that we owe systems 
of fortification very far superior to those which had pre- 
ceded them. Nevertheless, according to the admission 
of those celebrated men themselves, in spite of all their 
efforts, the attack was still superior to the defence. 

The study of the works executed during many cen- 
turies by several generations of men to defend their lives, 
their liberty, and their fortunes, is certainly one of the 
most attractive that can be pursued ; it is likewise, 
perhaps, one of the most useful. This study is con- 
nected with the successive developments of the national 
civilization and character, and it must be allowed that 
no country in Europe presents a more considerable series 
of permanent military works than France. We have been 


able, in a work so limited as this is, merely to give a 
very summary idea of a subject so vast, and which wonld 
require, on the part of any one desirous of entering into 
it fully, an extent of information to which we can lay no 
claim. We hope, however, that this Essay may help to 
save from destruction some of those precious remains of 
our ancient architecture, which have been so intimately 
bound up with our existence as a nation; and that it 
may perhaps lead to the collection, in a complete work, 
of the numerous fragments of military architecture which 
cover the soil of France, and which the hands of men 
and individual interests, even more than the ravages of 
time, are every day destroying. It would be worthy of 
an enlightened Government like ours to undertake this 
task, far beyond the powers of a single man. In ad- 
dition to the archaeological interest which would at- 
tach to a work of this importance, it would read us more 
than one lesson ; we should therein obtain a knowledge 
of the resources of a country which we love, because she 
is our own, and, better still, because she has struggled 
always after a national unity, and because her energy 
has always made her rise superior to her reverses. 


(Tlte Asterisks refer to Engravings.) 

Agde, walls of the town of, 3. 
Aignes-Mortes, towers, 122. 

*PlanofthetowD, 123. 

*rampavt3, 132, 145. 
Aiguillon, the siege of, 155 — 157. 
Aix road, the, 222. 
Albigenses, 33, 43. 
Aleximder VI., Pope, 254. 
Alwe, or allwre, the walk behind the 
*At Carcassonne, 11. 

* Plan of, 66. 

*At Coucy, 110. 

* Plan of, 148. 

Andelys (les), 80, 81, 84. 

Andely, grand, 84. 

Isle of, 92. 

Petit, 84, 92, 93. 

Anglo-Norman feudalism, 78. 
Antoninus, the Column of, 5, 6. 
Arlaletriers, the Corporation of, 165, 
* Archers and, bowmen, 173 — 175. 
Arno, the river, 219. 
Arragon, King of, 47. 
Arras, bastille of, 217. 
Arrow-loops (archies), 249. 
Artillery, introduction of, 166. 

Early use of, 168. 

The English expelled by improvements 
in, 169. 

Further improvements, 170, 171. 

»0f the fifteenth century, 172. 

Towers altered to receive, 177. 

♦Embrasures for, 181. 

Modifications of walls, &c., 182. 

*Plans of towers constructed for, 184, 

Castles cannot resist, 187. 

Modes of defence against, 202—206. 

Description of French and English 
in the sixteenth century, note, 207- 

Increasing power of, 215, 234. 

Artillery, irresistible, 237. 

♦Improved embrasures for, 248. 

Changes the conditions of the defence, 
255, 256, 262. 
Artillery Museum of Paris, 172. 
Aubenton, the town of, 136. 

*rhe gate o', 135, 136. 

Siege of, 125. 
Aude, the river, 46, 47, 49, 51, 52, 54, 

Augsburg, * fortifications of, 229—232. 
Autun, Roman city of, 15. 
Auxerre, Roman city of, 15. 
Avaricum (Bourges), 5. 
Avignon, *wall3 of, with details, 144 — 

*Inside view of towers at, 146. 

* Plans of the same, 147. 

♦Perspective view of the interior, 149. 

♦Palace of the Pope, 150. 

Bacon (a brigand), 162. 

Barhacane, La, 46. 

Sariette battery, or batteries, 184, 186, 

199, 257. 
*J3arbicans, or outworks, 37, 51, 52, 75, 

Bartizan (ecTumguette), a watch-turret, 
as at Carcassonne, 55. 

Provins, 104. 

Schaffhausen, 196. 
Basle, or Bale, 217. 

♦Wooden cylinders at, 252. 
The arsenal of, 171. 
Bastille, or bastilles, Roman, 18. 
♦Section of, 20, 29, 68, 167* 203, 217, 

Bastille of S. Antoine, 75, 76. 
Bastions, ♦plans of, 119, 120. 

♦At Schaflthausen, 194 

♦At Verona, 224. 

♦At Augsburg, 230, 231. 



Sastions at Frankfort- on- the-Maine, 234. 

*Plans oF, 238. 

*Attackecl, 239. 

*At Troyes, 238. 

*Isolated, 241. 

*Bird's-eye view, 242. 

*Plan of, according to Deville, 262. 

*At Carcassonne, 66. 

With wooden door, 67. 
Batteries, 211, 212. 
*BaUering-rams, 7, 25, 33, 36, 42, 43, 

119, 203, 204, 207. 
*BedIc, 'horn, or pointed iastion, 121, 

122, 127. 
*Plans of, 122. 
Eeaucaire, siege of, 26, 43. 
Beangency-sur- Loire, 98. 
Bernard Hugon de Serre-Longue, 38. 
Berniferes, peninsula of, 92. 
BSziers, early fortifications of, 3. 
Bihl. de V Ecole des Charts, 166. 
Bicoque, a, 69. 
Blanche, Queen, 37, 38. 
Bl.aye, Defenses de la Yille de, 226. 
Boccanegra, the Genoese, 145. 
Bombard, a great gun, short and thick, 

nearly equivalent to the modern 

homh, used at the siege of Calais, 

Bonaguil, the castle of, 177 — 181. 
*Plan of, 178. 
*Bird's-eye view, 180. 
*Erahrasure, 181. 
Bonaparte, L. Napoleon, The Past and 

Future of Artillery, 166. 
Essay on the Influence of Fire-arms, 

BonniSres-on-the-Seine, 81. 
Bordeaux, Eoman fortifications of, 15. 

Bastille of, 217. 
Bosson (langue d'oe), a battering-ram, 

25, 27, 33, 43. 
Boulevards, or hastions, 214, 215, 226, 

De la Porte St. Jaques, 237. 
Boulevert iastille, or hasfide, 201. 
Boulogne, the gates of, 158. 
Bourbon-l'Archamhaut, 77. 

Bourgeois, le, 167. 
Bonrges, siege of, 5. 
Bourgogne, le Due de, 229. 
Boussac, town of, 77. 
Boutavant, fort of, 84. 
Boves, siege of, 34, 35. 
Braban9ons, the, 153, 160. 
Braie, or external ditch, 201, 202. 

*Section of a false braie, 264. 
Brattish (breast-work), 40, 45, 58, 125, 

128, 130, 131, 137, 138. 
Bridge of boats, with turrets on it, 92. 
■Brittany, h6tel of the Dukes of, 73. 
Bureau, the brothers, 166, 168. 

Cables used by the Romans to form 

mats for defence of walls, 19. 
Caen, siege of, 167 ; orillons at, 235. 
Csesar, the time of, 4, 5, 18, 22, 33. 
Caesar's Commentaries, 4. 
Cffisar Borgia, 254. 
Cahors, Eoman fortifications of, 15. 
Calabres, battering machines, 36. 
Calais, siege of, 155, 157 — 159. 
Cambray, defence of, 166. 
Cannon, 171, 172, 176, 177, 181. 

Varieties of, in use in England and 
Prance in the sixteenth century, 
207, note. 
Capendu, Raymond de, 42. 
Carcassonne, early walls of, 3. 

Of the Visigoths, 10. 

*Plan of the Visigoth, or Roman walls, 

Siege of, in 1240, 37—42. 

*Wood-work to defend a breach, 41. 

*Plan as fortified by S. Louis, 48. 

Fortifications of, 47 — 59. 

*Plan and *bird's-eye view, 56, 57. 

Castle of the twelfth century, 8. 

*Pointed towers, or horns at, 121. 

*Plan of the Narbonne gate, 126, 128, 

*Elevation of, 129. 

Bishop's palace at, 51. 

*Towers at, 11, 12, 13. 
Carlovingian period, 24. 
Casal, M. de, 254. 



Casemated batten/, a vaulted chamber 
with embrasures for cannon, 185, 
195, 251. 
Castellain of Cambrai, 114. 
Catapult (trebuchet), 34, 36, 43, 63, 64, 

66, 94, 115, 136. 
Catherine, the Countess, 254. 
Cats (chas), 34, 36, 51, 62, 94, 150. 
Celts, fortifications of the, 4. 
Chabannes, Jacques de, 167. 
Chaillot, slopes of, 73. 
Charlemagne, 24. 
Charles the Bold, 201. 

V. (of Prance), 75, 151. 

VI., 165. 

VII., 164, 166, 169, 171, 176,177. 

■ VIII., 187, 200, 218. 

Chateau-Gaillard, built by Richard I., 
and a proof of his talents as an en- 
gineer, 80. 
Completed in one j'ear, 81. 
*Plan of castle aitd Environs, 82. 
Importance of the po'sition, 83. 

*Ground-plan of the castle, 85. 
*^ t 

*View of part of the wallj 89. 

*View of the keep, 91. 

Siege of the castle, 92—94. 

Machicolations of, 137. 
Chateau du Bois, 73. 
Chateau-Thierry, 77. 
Ch^teaudiin, donjon of, 105. > 

Chtiitillon-sur-Seine, 77. I 

Chauvigny in Poitou, 77, 98. 

*Plan of the castle, 97. 
Chemins de ronde, 25. 
Chemise, or wall of counter-guard, 32, 

98, 103, 105, 106, 108. 
Cherbourg, siege of, 168, 169. 
Circv/mvallation, the line of, 24, 93. 
City, a Roman, 14, 15. 
Clermont, Monseigneur, 169. 
Coehom, M. de, 264. 
Coitivi, Admiral de, 169. 
Combourne, the castle of, 161. 

Vicomte de, 162. 
Compifegne, arbal^triers at, 165. 
Cond6 in Brie, 114. 
Constance, 123, 

Constance, the lake of, 190. 
Contravallation, the line of, 24, 29, 68, 93. 
Corner-towers {tours du coin), 125. 
Coucy, *plaa of the town and castle, 76. 

Donjon of, 105. 

*Plans of the castle and keep, 106 — 

Section of the keep, 111. 

Plan of construction, 112. 

Hoarding at, 136. 
Coucy, Engoerrand III. de, 113. 
Counterguard, wall of, at Bunaguil, 179. 
Counterscarp, the external slope of the 

ditch, as at Bonaguil, 179. 
Cramequin, or handle of crossbow, 175. 
Cr6cy, battle of, 78, 157, 166. 
Crenelle (or creneau), 118, 139, 189, 249. 

*With a wooden shutter, 118. 
Crenellated parapets, 7. 
Crfevecoeur, 114. 

Croix-Boissee, the boulevard of, 167. 
Calverin, a small cannon, used in the 

sixteenth century, 207. 
Curtain-walls, 61, 139, 141, 144, 145, 
148, 176, 197, 206, 207, 208, 211. 

*Plans of, 119, 120. 
Cylinder, of wood, 250—252. 

Da/rtz porcarissals, 45. 

Derby, the Earl of, 158. 

De ViUe, Chevalier, 253, 261, 262, 264. 

Deville, M. A., 80. 

Dieppe, town walls, 77. 

Discharging-arches, 208. 

Domestic Architecture in England, Some 

Account of, 217. 
Domfront, castle of, 98. 
Donjon, the, 13, 31, 79, 80, 88, 90, 94, 

96, 97, 98, 100, 104, 105, 106, 112, 

151, 178, 179, 203, 221. 
Douai, bastiUe of, 217. 
Double palisades {cadafalcs dolliers),4&. 
Drambridges, *from a wooden tower, 65, 

At Carcassonne, 132. 
Ducerceau, Des plus excellents bUiments 

de France, 113. 
Chateaux royaux en France, 133. 



Du Guesclin, Bertrand, 155, 160, 162, 

Dunbar, the battle of, 217. 
Duras, the town of, 171. 
Durer, Albert, 227, 245. 

Edward I., 217. 

Edward III., 157—159, 165. 

Embrasures (fenestrals), 45, 245 — 252. 

Formed with gabions, 212. 
Empire, the Roman, 3. 
Engineers (ingegneors), 33. 
Engines of war, 33 — 36, 64. 
England, engineers of, 27. 
English archers, 161. 

Army in the fifteenth centm'y, 161. 

English, the, expelled from France by 
improved artillery, 169. 
Engaerraud III. de Coucy, 105, 113. 
Ermenville, Gerard d', 42. 
Errard de Biir-le-Duc, 253. 
Etampes, *plan of the keep, 99. 
Evreux, corps collected at, 81. 
*Ezelfiel, figure of, from a MS. of the 
eleventh century, 26. 

Falaise, 77, 98 ; *plan of the cas le, 124. 
Famars (Fanum Martis), 8, 9. 
*Fascines, 36. 
Fausses traies, 199, 215, 229, 231, 259, 

Feudal castles, 79, 

Horsemen (gendarmerie), 79. 
Feudalism of France, 78. 
Fert6-Aucoul, la, 114. 
Flanders, supplies, provisions, and mer- 
chandize, 158. 
Florence, 166, 219, 226. 
Foot-soldier ifantassin), 78. 
Forli, the fortress of, 254. 
Port, Guill.iume, 38. 
Forts, detached, use of, 28. 
Fortalice (cMtelet), 92, 94. 
Fouque, Victor, Recherches Hist, sur les 

Corpor. des Archers, 166. 
Fourneanx de mine, 259. 
France, 27, 71, 72, 79, 245, 247, 265. 

Feudal, 160. 

France, the feudal nobility of, 162. 
Francis I., 27, 151, 182, 187, 219, 237. 
Frankfort-on-the-Maine, 233, 234. 
Franks, the, 3, 24. 
Free-archers (francs-a/rchers), 166. 
French army, 154, 155. 
Froissart's Chronicles, 27, 135, 137, 141, 
153, 155, 161, 171. 

Gabions, 212, 213. 
Gaillon-on-the-Seine, 81. 
* Galleries, plan of vaulted, 260. 
Gallic tribes, 5. 
Gallo-Romans, the, 2, 3, 23. 
Gtronne, the, 155. 
Gascon army, 161. 

Gate, the prcetorian, decumana, princi- 
palis dextra, principalis sinistra, 7. 
Gate, the, 33, 34. 
Gateways, 125 — 131. 
Gaul, 2, 3, 23. 
Genoese infantry, 153. 

Bowmen, 154, 160. 

Revolt, 254, 255. 
Geraut d'Aniort, 38. 
Germanic customs, 3. 
German infantry, ] 53. 
Germans, the, 5, 22, 23. 
Germany, 3, 27. 
Gisors, the town of, 80, 83. 
Godefroy, T., Hist. d'Artus HI., 167, 

Graveillant, a suburb of Carcassonne, 38. 
Greek fire, 170. 

Grille, or iron railing, 106, 117, 130. 
Guiart, Guillaume, 34. 
Guillaume des Ormes, 37, 38. 
Guines, the Count of, 156. 

the comt^ of, 158. 

Guise, town of, 77. 
Guizot, M., 71. 
Gunpowder, 27, 159. 

Hainault, the Count of, 135, 136. 
Ham, the cistle of, 203. 
Harecourt, the castle of, 170. 
Harfleur, the siege of, 168. 



Henry II. (of France), 151. 

IV., 261. 

the ship, 169. 

Hero of Constantinople, 168. 

Hides, or skins used to cover wooden 

ramparts, 5, *63, *65. 
Soards, or hoarding, vide Sowrds. 
SooJcs (Jalces mwrales), 5. 
Born, ov pointed bastion, 121, 122, 127. 

*Plans of, 121. 
Hdtel de Vauvert, 74. 
Hourdes (coated with loam or mortar), 

Sourds, hoarding, or hoards, 58, 59, 60, 
61, 62, 64, 99, 104, 110, 116, 118, 
119, 120, 131, 136—138, 141, 244, 
246, 247. " 

*View3 of, 61, 63, 65, 129. 

*Plan of, 137. 

*Section of, 139. 

*View of, from a MS. of Proissart, 141. 

*View of, at Nuremberg, 247. 
Hull, town of, 217. 

*Part of the fortifications, 218. 
HySres, town of, 77. 

Infantry, introduction of, 154. 
Innspruck, town of, 223. 
Issoudun, the treaty of, 80, 81. 
Italian engineers, 237. 

Wars, 259. 
Italy, 27, 144, 197, 199, 218. 

Jacqv£s, or brigands, 161. 
Jean, Maitre, 170, 171. 
John, King, 75. 

the Good, 104, 161. 

Joinville, describes the Greek fire, 170. 
Jouy, gate of, at Provins, 122. 

Kaiserstuhl-on-the-Khine, 190. 

Kas, cTiax-ehateilz (or moveable towers), 

Kingston-upon-Hull, 217. 

La Hogue, port of, 157. 
Langeais, castle of, 98. 
Langres, Koman walls at, 15, 16, 182 — 
188, 203. 

Langres, *plan of the town walls, 182. 

♦Plans and sections of tower.^, 184, 
185, 186. 

Market-tower at, 187. 
Languedoc, a brigand of, 161. 
Laon, diocese of, 114. 
Laval, Miehauld de, 165. 
Leghorn, bastille of, 217. 
Limousin, the, 161. 
*Lines of approach, 63. 
Lists (lices), 39. 
Loches, town of, 77. 

Castle of, 98. 

*Plan of beaks at, 122. 
Loire, the, 3. 
*Loopholes, in a Roman tower, 20. 

*In a curtain-wall, 61. 

♦Arrangement of, at Carcassonne, 117, 
Lot (the river), 155. 
Louis (Saint), 35, 37, 46, 49, 50, 58, 59. 

XI., 72, 114, 164, 171, 182, 200. 

XI I, 254. 

XIII., 261. 

Louvre (the), 73, 75, 76, 105. 
Lubeck, city of, 217. 

♦Fortifications of, 219. 

Machiavelli, 218, 226, 237, 253, 255, 256. 
Machicoulis (machicolation), 61, 110 — 

112, 125, 127, 128, 130, 137, 140, 

141, 144, 148, 150, 179, 187, 189, 

203, 221. 
Maggi (Girol), Delia Fortif della Citta, 

Magna Chmrta, 78. 
Maine, the river, 232. 
Ma/ngonels (mangoniaux), machines for 

throwing stones, 36, 38. 
* Mantelets, or wooden shields, 19, 36. 
Marne, the river, 183. 
Marseilles, siege of, described by Csesar, 

18—22, 33. 
*View of bridge at, 223. 
Martin, M. Th. Henri, Morceanx dn 

Texte d'Seron, &c., 168. 
Martinets, engines for hurling stones, 




Mats formed of cables, used by the Eo- 
mans to protect wooden towers, 19. 

Maximilian, the tomb of, 223. 

Meaux, Viscount of, 114. 

Merian, Topog. de la Gaule, 226, 257. 

Merlon, the solid part of a battlement, 
separated by the crenelles or open- 
ings : as at Bonaguil, 179. 

Merovingian period, 24. 

Metz, the city of, 257. 

*View of the Mazelle gate at, 214. 
*'View of the barbican, 216. 
*Bird's-eye view of part of the forti- 
fications, 258. 

Meudon, 73. 

Meulan, town of, 77. 
The dungeon of, 163. 

Michelet's Hist, of Prance, Deposition 
of the Due d'Alen(;on, 166. 

Middle Ages, armies of the, 25. 

Milan, the castle of, 219, 255. 
*Bird's-eye view, 220. 

Military Dictionary, &c., 207. 

Mine, the, 37. 

Mines and countermines, 259. 

Monastery of St. Martin-of-the-Fields, 

Montiirgis, town of, 77. 
*Plan of the castle, 95. 
*View of the entrance, 133. 

Montfort-l'Amaury, town of, 77. 

Simon de, 10, 32, 33, 34, 43— 

45, 71. 

Montlac, Blaise de, 205, 206. 

Montmirail, 114. 

Montrichard, castle of, 98. 

Mattes, or mounds, 98. 

Mouton {lanque d'oil), a battering-ram, 
25, 33. 

Munstero, Sebast., DeUa Cosmog. Uni- 
versale, 229, 232. 

Musculus, or rat, 20, 21. 

Narbonnaise, the, 3, 44. 

Gate at Carcassonne, 39, 49, 51. 

*Plans, 126, 128, 131. 

*View, 129. 
Narbonne, city of, 3, 235. 

Newcastle-on-Tyne, 141. 

Nieulay, the bridge of, 157, 158. 

Nile, the, 35. 

Nogent-le-Rotrou, 98. 

Norman castles, 31. 

Normans in England, 145. 

Normandy, 81, 90, 157, 169. 

the Duke of (afterwards King 

John), 155. 
Nuremberg, 227, 228, 245, 249—251. 
*Vie.v of parapet and hoarding at, 

*Embrasure of the Laufer gate at, 

250, 251. 
Nuys, fortifications of, 201, 202. 

Oisy, 114. 

Ora. ge, town of, 77, 145, 200. 

*View of part of the fortifications, 201. 
Oriental projectiles, 30. 
Orillon, or oilong bastion, *view of, 235. 

*Plan of, 236. 
Oilcans, city of, 95, 167. 

Siege of, 170, 171. 
Osier parapets, 5. 
Outworlcs, antemuralia, procastria, 1. 

Paey-sur-Eure, 81. 
*Palisades, at Carcassonne, 12. 
Attaclied by battering-rams, 25. 
Use of, 27, *41. 
Parapets {chemins-de-ronde), 208, 209, 

Paris, 73—75, 145, 156, 157. 

*Plan of, in the thirteenth century, 
*In the fourteenth, 75. 
Imperial Library of, 25, 141, 171, 
Parker, Mr. J. H., 217. 
Pavia, siege of, 27. 
Perigueux, *plan and *view of tower at, 

188, 189. 
Fetraria, an engine for throwing stones 

38, 39, 43. 
Pliilip Augustus, 34, 73, 80, 81, 90, 92 

—94, 114, 167. 
the Bold, 47, 50, 123, 127, 132. 



Philip de Valois, 72, 151, 155, 158, 159, 

161, 162. 
Picardy, march of the English through, 

Pierrefonds, the castle of, 141 — 144. 

*View of part of the castle, 142. 

*The same restored, 143. 
Flatform, or cavalier, 222 — 225. 
PocJcets (Jburneaux), 259. 
Poitiers, the city of, 15, 78. 
Portcullis, 127, 128, 129, 131. 
Provence, the people of, 43. 
Provins, the keep of, 99. 

*Plan^f the keep, 100, 101. 

*Elevation, 102. 

*Sectioii, 103. 

Paris gate at, 103. 

Gate of Jouy at, 122. 

Gate of St. John at, 122. 
Puilaurues, Guillaume de, 10. 

Eadulfus, Bishop, 46. 
Mamparts, 209—211. 

Wooden, 4 — 6. 
But, the (mmculus), 20, 21, 33. 
Ravelins, 243. 

*Plans of, 244. 
Kaymond, Count, 45. 
Memparer, to, 209. 
Betwrn, a {redeut), 127, *248. 
Kheims, the city of, 114. 
Rhine, the, 190. 
Rhodez, gate, 40. 
Sibaudequins, 176. 

Richard Coeur-de-Lion, his military ge- 
nius and talent as an engineer shewn 
in the Chateau-Graillard, 80, 87, 
94, 137. 
Robert, King, 73, 74. 
Roger de Lacy, 92 — 94. 
Roman entrenched camps, 6 — 8. 

*Wooden ramparts, 6. 

Wooden towers, 8. 

*Method of constructing walls, 9. 

*Testudo, or tortoise, 6. 

Fortifications, 9, 17. 

*PIan of walls, 17. 

*Section of tower, 20. 

Roman soldiery, 5, 6, 21, 22. 

Towns, 14. 

Towers, 19, 20. 
Romans, the, 3, 13, 17, 18, 19, 24, 29. 
Rome, 3, 5, 15. 
Roucy, Count of, 114. 
Rouen, 81, 83, 90, 93, 168, 235. 

Saint Ladre d'OrlSans, 167. 

Louis, 123. 

Omer, 158. 

Pol, the Constable of, 203. 

Sernin, 46. 

Salisbury, the Earl of, 170. 

Sangattes, the mount of, 158. 

San-Giorgio, 219, 226. 

San Michele, 237. 

Saracens, the, 35. 

Saracen wall, 40. 

Saumur, the town of, 77. 

Scala, Giov., Delle Fortif., 240, 241. 

Scaling ladders [icTielades), 14'6. 

Schaifliausen, fortress of, 203, 245. 

*Fortifications of the bridge, 191. 

*Plan of the citadel, 192. 

*View of one of the bastions, 193. 

*Plan of the bastion, 194. 

*Plan and section of embrasures, 195. 

*Plan of the platform, 196. 

*Bird's-eye view of the fortress, 198. 

Chermn-de-ronde, 191, 192. 
Schayes, Mist, de I' Architecture en Sel- 

gigue, 8. 
Seine, the, 73, 81, 83, 84, 92, 94. 
Septimunia, 3. 
Shields (pavois), 150. 
* Shutters, wooden, 118, 134. 
Sienna, defence of, 205. 

* View of part of the fortifications, 206. 
Spiral ramp (or inclined way), 191, 195. 
Springald, » kind of sling for throwing 
stones, 158. (The same name was 
afterwards applied to a kind of 
Steln-on-the-Rhine, 190. 
Stone merlons, 204, 205. 
Sylvestre, Vue des Maisons Soyales et 
rules, 151. 



Takes, or incUne, 204. 

Tancarville, the Count of, 156. 

*Tapeou, or shutter, 134, 135. 

Temple, the, 74, 75. 

Tenailles, 244. 

Termes, Olivier de, 38. 

*Testwdo, the Roman, 6. 

Timber hoards, or hoardincf, 136 — 139, 

141, 149. 
Toeni-on-the-Seine, 92. 
Topographie de la Gaule, 182. 
*Tortoise, the (testudo), 5, 6, 168. 
Toulouse, ramparts of the Visigoths, 3. 
Besieged by Simon de Moutfort, 44. 
Defended chiefly by timber-works, 45, 

Chateau Narbonnais at, 9. 
Place du Salin, 10. 
Tour-de-ronde, 102. 
Tournay, the men of, 158. 
Towers, the Roman mode of bnilJing, 

Section of one in construction, 20. 
Of wood covered with skins, at Bourges, 

Towers on rollers {haffraiz), 33. 
Trajan's column, 4, 6, 8. 
Traverses, 225. 
Trebonius, C, 18. 
Treitzsaurwen, Mark, Le Hoi Sage, 

Treneavel, 37, 46, 47. 
Trenches, 36, 167, 168. 

With gabions, 213. 
Tresau, Tour du, 49, 54. 
Troyes, fortifications of, repaired in 1541, 

*PIan of one of the bastions, 238. 
Tnbs, or semals, 45. 
Turldsh engines, 31. 
Feiraria, 38. 

Vauhan, 253, 257, 261, 264. 
Vegetius, 7, 10. 
Vemon-on-the-Seine, 81, 83. 
Verona, fortifications of, 223. 

*View of a cavalier on a, bastion at, 

Fortified by San Michele, 237. 
Vexin territory, the, 80. 
Villeneuve d'Agen, 177. 

le-Roi, 122. 

*Vincenne3, 133. 

Plan of the castle, 152. 
Visigoths in the fifth century, extent 
of their dominion, 3. ^ 

Fortifications of the, at Carcassonne, 

Towns of, 16. 

*Planof town, 17. 

Wa'ls of town, 37. 

Walls repaired, 47. 

Towers of, 50. 
Vitruvius, 8. 
Voisin, Pierre de, 42. 

Wallia, 3. 

William the Breton, 90, 94. 
Wooden *ramparts, protected by hides, 

Scaffoldings, 6, 45,71, see also Hourds. 

*Roman work, 4. 

German work, 6. 

*Tower3 on Roman walls, 8. 

*Palisades, at Carcassonne, 12. 

*Defence3 of a breach, 41. 

*Hoarding, 61. 

*Plan of, 137. 

*Door of a bastion, 67. 

*Shutter, hanging, 12, 118. 
Suspended, 134. 
*0n a pivot, 134. 

*Ramparts, 211. 

J)rintcb Irg gEESfjrs. ^iirlitr, €oriim;«I«t, 0«forb. 





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Vol. I.— from WILLIAM I. TO EDWARD I. 



(the edwahdian pekiod, or the beooeated style.) 


" The late Mr. Hudson Turner's valuable and beautiful work on the Domestic Architec- 
ture of the Middle Ages has been followed by a second volume, comprehending the 14th 
century, and edited by Mr. J. H. Parker. We know not how to give it higher praise than 
to say it appears equal to its predecessor in interest, and in every attractive quality. 
Indeed, it is not, we think, too much to say, that the two volumes form the most important 
practical publication on architecture which has appeared for many years." — Christian 
Rememh'ancer, April, 1853. 



" The whole history, as traced out by Mr. Parker, shews the absurdity of the vulgar 
notion that Gothic is in some special way an ecclesiastical style. The truth is that the 
•mediajval architects, like the architects of every other good period. Christian or heathen, 
built their rehgious buildings in exactly the same style as their secular ones. They built 
both in the only style they knew of, at least the only one they could work in — namely, 
the style of their own day. A church, a house, a, castle, of the same date, are very dif- 
ferent things in outline and proportion — that is the natural result of their several pur- 
poses I but in mere style, in mere architectural forms, they are exactly the same. 

" It is a work of thorough research and first-rate authority on a deeply interesting and 
important subject." — Saturday Review, Ntm, 26, 1859. 

" The unanimous approval with which these interesting, learned, and richly-illustrated 
volumes have been received in all quarters since their recent pubhoation, almost renders 

unnecessary any criticism on our part Few who know anything at all of the 

subject are ignorant of Mr. Parker's 'Glossary,' published more than twenty years ago. 


and which led the way to the improvements which late years have witnessed, arousing the 
attention of the clergy and educated classes generally to the merits and beauties of the 
ecclesiastical structures of the middle ages by pictorial representations of the char,ac- 
teristic details of the buildings of each century. The 'Glossary' was an attempt to 
apply Riokman's system, and assign dates to several Jaundreds of examples, by comparison 
of the style only, where historical dates were not forthcoming. The principle thus applied 
has been found true in the great majority of instances, and has been accepted as a rule by 
all subssquent students of Gothic 

" We must not forget to add that this work gives many interesting documents, e.g., li- 
cences to crenellate, inventories of furniture, and old accounts. The light thrown upon 
Enghsh domestic life in the middle ages is very great, and the beautiful Illustrations which 
are so profusely scattered through the work greatly enhance its va ue both as a book of 
reference and a, hbrary companion, which the owner wiU seldom be tired of taking up. 
The thanks of all who are fortunate enough to possess houses of medieval date are due 
to Mr. Parker's learned efforts to perpetuate their memory, and to recall attention to their 
history and their value. Most useful will hxve been his labours if they stir up a zeal for 
the preservation of existing remains, and a taste for the adoption of Gothic in the erec- 
tion of future buildings of importance, whether in the metropolis or elsewhere. " — Morning 
Post, Jan. i, 1860. 

"It is a rather happy coincidence that, at a time when it is more than ever important 
for the partisans of our own indigenous style to stand their ground, or rather to take a 
step in advance in behalf of its claim to universality of application, a book has just been 
completed which cannot but have a powerful effect in guiding and informing their efforts 
After an interval of six or seven years, Mr. J. H. Parker, the well-known editor of the 
'Glossary of Architecture, 'has completed, by the publication of two final volumes, the 
' Account of the Domestic Architecture of Mediaeval England,' which he began in 1851, in 
conjunction with the late Mr. Hudson Turner. The whole series affords an admirable 
illustration of its subject from the twelfth to the sixteenth century. The text, richly gar- 
nished with documentary evidences gathered from every source with rare skiU and dili- 
gence, is stiU more profusely embellished with woodcuts and engravings. The study of 
the plates alone, without reference to the letter-press, would afford any one a tolerable 
idea of what the secular and domestic architeotiu-e of our forefathers was in chronological 

order from the time of the Conquest to that of Elizabeth It is now more 

than twenty years since Mr. Parker pubUshed the first edition of his well-known ' Glossary 
of Architecture," and he faMy takes credit to himself for having contributed largely to 
the late revival of the Pointed style in its application to ecclesiastical structures. No one 
will dispute that this and other similar publications have materially helped forward the 
movement by famiharizing the public with the details of the style, and by awaking general 
attention to the arohseological value of what has been preserved of mediaeval buUdings,"— 
Bentley's Quarterly Review, January, 1860. 

" People do not realise the fact that Gothic ever was a prevalent civil style. Mr. Par- 
ker's beautiful volumes on EngUsh Domestic Architectm-e come in most opportunely to 
drive away this error. His book opens to us a vast store of exquisite remains of medieval 
civil architecture, still existing in our own country, and gives some glimpses of the far 
richer stores which exist in other lands. The popular ignorance on this subject is truly 
amazing. Our land is stUl studded with beautiful frag-ments of mediajval domestic art ; 
only the difBoulty is, to make people believe that they are domestic,"— jTAe ]\^alionai 
Revieti), January, 1860. 

C^^ Gentleman's Paga^hu, 








WITH the year of our Lord 1869, Sylvanus Tfrlam, closed his 
207th volume, and the 128th year of his literary existence. 
This is a length of days that, so far as he knows, has never before been 
attained by a Journalist ; but he ventures to affirm, with thankfulness as 
well as some degree of self-complacency, that he is still in a green old 
age, and that to his thinking the time is yet very distant when, to borrow 
the words of one of his earliest and most valued friends, it may be said 
of him — 

" Superfluous lags the veteran on the stage." 

The times, it is readily allowed, have greatly changed since Sylvanus 
Urban first solicited public attention, but it may be fairly doubted whether 
the tastes and habits of thought of the educated classes to whom he ad- 
dresses himself have changed in a like degree. Hence he does not fear 
that History and Antiquities, in their widest sense, can ever become un- 
palatable to them, but, on the contrary, he is glad to mark an increased 
avidity in pursuing such studies. This is a state of things that he thinks he 
may claim a considerable share in bringing about, and the steady progress 
of which he is desirous of forwarding by all available means. He alludes 
to the growing appreciation of the Past, as the key to the understanding 
of the Present, and (in a sense) of the Future, as testified by the forma- 
tion of Archaeological and Literary Societies, which have already achieved 
much good, and may do still more ; and as a means to that end, he devotes 


a portion of his pages every month, under the title of " Anxiqitaeiah' 
AND LiTEEAEX Iktblhgekcee," to a record of their progress. 

Sylvanus Urban therefore ventures to suggest to the Councils of such 
Societies, that if hrief reports of their proceedings and publications are 
systematically supplied to the Gentleman's Magazine, wlSfere they will 
be always highly acceptable, an interchange of knowledge an<? good offices 
may thus be established between learned bodies in the most distant parts 
of the Empire — an interchange that does not now exist, but the want of 
which few will be found to deny. 

Thanks to the enlightened views of the present Head of the Record 
Service, materials of extreme importance to the historical student are now 
freely open to all qualified inquirers who can repair to their place of de- 
posit ; but Sylvanus Urban, to meet the views of his subscribers in distant 
parts of the country, prints Oeiginal Documents, selected with care 
from the Public Record Office, accompanied b}' summaries or comments 
as each particular case may require ; and to these, the co-operation of 
valued friends enables him to add many rare pieces from private Col- 
lections, which might otherwise never be printed. 

It has ever been the desire of Sylvanus Urban to see his Coeeesfon- 
DENCE a leading feature in his pages, and he has had the gi-atification of 
reckoning many of the most erudite men of the time as his fellow-workers, 
who have, through him, conveyed an invaluable amount of knowledge to 
the world. He invites those of the present day to imitate them. Another 
important feature has been, and will be, the Obitttaet, to the completeness 
of which he requests friends or relatives to contribute by communicating 
fitting notices of eminent persons daily removed by the hand of death from 
among us. He believes that he shall not be disappointed in the extent of 
this friendly co-operation, but that, on the contrary, the increasing number 
of his contributors will render the motto that he has so long borne more 
than ever applicable : — 

" H plurihus TJnum" 

In conclusion, Sylvanus Urban requests his Correspondents to append. 
their addresses, not, unless agreeable, for publication, but in order that he 
may have the pleasure of forwarding to them a copy of the Gentleman's 
Magazine containing their communications. 


All Communications to be addressed to Ma. Uuban, 377, Straxd, W.C.